President Obama gave a press conference yesterday to discuss the crisis in Syria . . . and afterwards, he answered a question about Jason Collins' coming out.

(You know, because it's just a NOTCH below the newsworthiness of this Syrian insanity.)

Obama said, quote, "For an individual who has excelled at the highest level to go ahead and say 'This is who I am.  I'm proud of it.  I'm still a great competitor.  I'm still seven-foot tall, and can bang with Shaq. And, uh, you know, deliver a hard foul.'"

Here's video:

Shaq hasn't commented on Jason "banging with him," but he did offer his support.

He said, quote, "Character is found in those who lead.  I am proud of my friend Jason Collins, for showing all of us what leadership looks like.   #Way2Go."

Here's a picture of Jason putting a body on Shaq a few years back: