Sarah Caldwell
April 30, 2013 AT 01:55 PM EDT

Jason Collins became the first openly gay pro athlete in a major U.S. team sport yesterday after his personal revelation in a Sports Illustrated cover story. Today, Good Morning America snagged an interview with Collins to discuss his decision and his amazing last 24 hours. ”[You] just try to live an honest, genuine life and the next thing you know you have the president calling you,” said Collins, who spoke to President Obama after his announcement. ”He was incredibly supportive and he was proud of me and said that this not only affected my life but others going forward.”

When George Stephanopoulos mentioned tennis legend Martina Navratilova, Collins said he hoped he could be someone’s role model in the same way that she had been for him. Stephanopoulos asked Collins what he would say to a 12-year-old boy practicing basketball now, who happens to be gay. ”It doesn’t matter that you’re gay,” Collins said. ”But a key thing is that it’s about basketball. It’s about working hard. It’s about sacrificing for your team. It’s all about dedication and that’s what he should focus on.”

Collins added, ”But when you finally get to that point of acceptance, there’s nothing more beautiful than just allowing yourself to really be happy and be comfortable in your own skin.”

Click below for a video clip:

Collins also thanked those who have supported him on his Twitter with the following notes:

Thank you to everyone who has reached out to me thru email, texts, calls, tweets, letters, and every other form of communication. #support

— Jason Collins (@jasoncollins34) April 29, 2013

All the support I have received today is truly inspirational. I knew that I was choosing the road less traveled but I’m not walking it alone

— Jason Collins (@jasoncollins34) April 29, 2013

Read more:
ESPN’s Chris Broussard calls homosexuality a ‘sin’ in segment about Jason Collins
NBA player Jason Collins comes out: 5 powerful quotes from his ‘Sports Illustrated’ article
By the Way, We’re Gay. The New Art of Coming Out

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