Kobe Bryant has revealed his delight that Jason Collins has become the first openly gay active player in the big four American sports this week.
The Brooklyn Nets revealed on Sunday they had signed Collins on a ten-day contract ahead of their game with the LA Lakers - the match in which he made history.
Collins has been without a team since July 2013 when his contract with the Washington Wizards expired, though he has not played since he came out as gay in April.
Kobe Bryant is currently out injured for an indefinite period with a knee injury, but was watching on at the Staples Center and was full of praise for the courage of Collins.
The Lakers superstar was adamant that this move by the Nets would have great significance for society at large and not just through the prism of American sports.
"It's fantastic. It sets an incredible precedent," said Bryant in an interview with Yahoo Sports ahead of the game.
"I think the most important part about it, what I've learned on the issue is that one person coming out is showing this type of courage that gives others that same type of courage.
"It's dealing with a lot of issues for kids who are afraid to be themselves. Afraid to be themselves because of the peer pressure that comes with it.
"A lot of these kids have depression issues or they're being teased from other kids for being different. You wind up seeing a lot of suicides, kids injuring themselves and getting hooked on things that they should not be hooked on."
Collins did not have a huge influence on the game but put in a solid performance as the Nets ran out 108-102 winners over the Lakers.