NBA owner Mark Cuban: "No question" other athletes will come out after Collins


(CBS News) Mark Cuban, owner of the NBA's Dallas Mavericks, said Tuesday that Jason Collins has shattered a "ceiling in professional sports" by acknowledging that he is gay. TheNBA center came out as the first openly gay playerin the four major U.S. professional sports leagues in a first-person account published by Sports Illustrated.

Cuban said Collins' announcement "set the platform for athletes in any professional sport to realize, 'you can be you'" and says the news erases a pervasive fear among openly gay high school and college athletes who are nervous about advancing to professional leagues because the stigma of homosexuality and locker room politics.

Tuesday on "CBS This Morning," New York Times Sports columnist Bill Rhoden said true acceptance of gay pro athletes is "decades" away due the "granite wall" impeding change in locker room culture, a notion that Cuban strongly refutes.

"When was the last time Bill was in a locker room?" Cuban asked. "If you can win, they don't care if you're from planet Mars. It really has changed."

According to Cuban, there is "no question about it" -- others will come out, within the NBA and professional sports.

"We're in a different generation now," Cuban said. "It's a whole new world where you can be yourself and you're able to communicate it in so many different're expected to come out and say exactly who you are."

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And while Cuban expects fans and teammates of Collins to be supportive of his openness, he admits "the only place you're going to see hate continue is Twitter...we have to be very careful not to take what people say on Twitter literally because it's so anonymous."

Shortly after Collins' piece was posted on Sports Illustrated's website on Monday, Miami Dolphins player Mike Wallace tweeted, "All these beautiful women in the world and guys wanna mess with other guys SMH..." The tweet was later deleted.

Collins, 34, is currently a free agent in the NBA and Cuban is unsure whether or not he will be picked up for another season.

"Jason has been a journeyman," Cuban said. "Teams have had him and have loved him but he's a backup center. And it's not like those are super difficult to find."