Oprah and Jason Collins

Being the first active male athlete in one of the major professional sports to come out was a pretty big hurdle in itself, according to Jason Collins, who revealed that he's gay in an essay for Sports Illustrated last week. But doing so as an African-American added "another dimension" to his revelation, the NBA player tells Oprah Winfrey.

Winfrey asked Collins if he had considered the "stigma" attached to being gay within the African-American culture.

"I think that has to do with a lot of just how hand-in-hand the church is with the African-American community. And trust me, I grew up in a very religious family," Collins said in an interview for Oprah's Next Chapter. "I knew as an African-American that it adds another dimension to the discussion."

Collins said he looked to his uncle, who's gay, as a role model — but also got unconditional support from the rest of his family when he came out to them at age 33, even though his parents never suspected he was gay.

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