Kobe Bryant has come a long way from his days of shouting homophobic slurs on the court.
The NBA all-star voiced his praise for Magic Johnson today, after the basketball veteran expressed unconditional support for his openly gay son. Magic's son, 20-year-old Earvin Johnson III, was photographed in Los Angeles earlier this week, hand-in-hand with his boyfriend. Johnson told TMZ, "Cookie and I love EJ and support him in every way."
"Of course Magic is supportive and loves his son," says Kobe. "Why should anyone be surprised?" The Lakers forward, who came under fire in 2011 for called a referee a "f*****" on the court, adds, "what I can't tolerate is lack of tolerance."
Kobe and Magic's open-minded attitude is reflective of the country's changing views on LGBT issues, and may be a sign that professional sports will soon take a more relaxed stance on openly gay athletes.
Johnson, a Hall of Famer who is now part-owner of the Brooklyn Dodgers, tells TMZ in a remarkably candid interview that he expects more athletes will come out in the coming months and years.
In the three-part interview, the athlete-turned-mogul also discusses how he would react to one of his players coming out, his first reaction when he realized his son was gay, at age 13, and how he feels about the negative response from some Black blogs.
Once again, Magic has set a great example for pro athletes, the Black community and parents everywhere.
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(Photo: Jesse Grant/Getty Images)