Jason Collins, the first active NBA player to come out as gay, and first lady Michelle Obama exchanged compliments at an LGBT-focused Democratic fund-raising event in New York Wednesday night.
Collins called the first lady “a steadfast champion for LGBT families” and said she and President Obama are sending the message that “the most important thing that defines a family is love,” ABC News reports.
Michelle Obama had kind words for Collins as well, saying, “Jason, we are so proud of you. We are proud of your talent, your character, your courage, and we are so proud. He has just made the difference in the lives of so many of our young people. So let’s give one more round of applause to our friend, Jason Collins. We love you so much, Jason.”
The two appeared at the Democratic National Committee’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Leadership gala, where the first lady urged donors to “max out” on their contributions and not to become cynical about politics. Using a popular slang term, she said maxing out “sounds kind of baller.”
Collins made history last month by being the first NBAer, and first male athlete in any major U.S. team sport, to come out as gay before his career was over. Collins most recently played for the Washington Wizards and is now a free agent.
The fund-raiser, held on New York’s Upper East Side, featured a performance by Sara Bareilles and was attended by other celebrities, including Bravo executive and host Andy Cohen.