The White House applauded National Basketball Association player Jason Collins, who on Monday became the first active male player in a major American sport to announce he was gay.

“We view that as another example of the progress that has been made and the evolution that has been taking place,” White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said, praising the NBA veteran’s “courage.”

President Obama also phoned Collins to express support for the player’s decision to speak out, a White House official said.

During his re-election bid, Obama came out in favor of gay marriage, noting a personal “evolution” on the issue. More recently, Obama’s Justice Department urged the Supreme Court to overturn California’s ban on same-sex matrimony.

Collins made the disclosure in an article posted online for Sports Illustrated. The 34-year-old has played 12 seasons in the NBA, including last year with the Washington Wizards.