Openly gay former NBA star John Amaechi has called Jason Collins “brave” for coming out gay.

Amaechi, who came out gay three years after ending his professional basketball career in 2004, on Monday praised Collins, an NBA free agent, on being the U.S.'s first openly gay male professional athlete.

(Related: NBA's Jason Collins: First openly gay professional athlete.)

“Most of the response that I've seen to Jason so far has been overwhelmingly positive,” Amaechi told Al Jazeera English. “And I think it will continue to be that way. I've seen some horrible stuff, too. But that is part of the package. And it helps people understand why there is still this pressure on coming out. Why you still have to do it so publicly. Why it's still important to do it publicly.”

“He is taking a risk. He's being very brave. Far more brave than I could have dreamed of being,” he added. (The video is embedded on this page. Visit our video library for more videos.)