Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Amaechi Comes Out

John AmaechiWhat a summery day we had in Chicago this afternoon: it reached 15 F. Meanwhile, in the wider world, the news includd the imminent coming out by a former NBA player (the first former NBA player to come publicly out of his own volition?) John Amaechi. A Boston native and the son of a Nigerian father and white British mother, Amaechi was reared in the UK, played college basketball at Pennsylvania State University, where was a two-time Academic All American, and wasn't drafted but still managed to have a 9-year career, for the Cleveland Cavaliers, Orlando Magic, and Utah Jazz, as well as in the European League. (A former coworker of mine went to college with Amaechi, and had only positive things to say about him.)

Since retiring three years ago, Amaechi has been a TV personality in Britain, and also runs a foundation, ABC, which aims to create sports opportunities for children throughout the UK. The news of his self-outing began building recently with the forthcoming release of his book, Man in the Middle, which purportedly will describe his experiences as a closeted professional athlete. In addition to running his foundation and his TV work, Amaechi has been very active in a number of social causes, has mentored young people, and is a practicing poet. He used to have a Website that featured some of his lyric stylings, as well as pictures of his friends and family, and other aspects of his life, though it's unfortunately been taken down. He also was named one of 100 Great Black Britons several years ago.

I applaud Amaechi's courage, and love that his coming out occurred during Black History Month. Now let's see if he'll be a lone wolf for a short time or a long while; how long will it take for any other ex-NBA players, and in particular, Black ex-NBA players, to go as far as he (or Dennis Rodman, who declared his gay-friendliness a few years ago) has? He certainly isn't the only gay former NBA player, and there must be some gay and bi men currently in the league.

7 comments:

  1. You can check out the John Amaechi "Man in the Middle" book at Amazon here:

    http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1933060190?ie=UTF8&tag=httpwwwmymobi-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=1933060190

    P.S. The book is coming out February 20th so it's available for preorder.

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  2. hey john!

    i too am wondering how long it will be before other NBA players come out...you'd think that it would more of them since we live in a society that claims to be tolerant and open to LGBT folk (though you and I both know that isn't necessarily true)

    Amaechi has done a LOT of charity work which is highly commendable....

    And, if im not mistaken I know of friends who've seen him at gay clubs in NYC a few years ago. I know at one point, it was pretty much an open secret that he was gay since he was there....Apparently, he was at Splash a few years ago and I was there also with friends...I had no clue but my friends were very sure to tell me what I had missed.

    I do know this: he IS very sexy. I'm hoping i can catch his ESPN interview online this weekend...

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  3. Yes, I think he had been living a semi-open life since retirement (and sort of 'peeking out' before that as well). I do so hope this encourages other former -- and current! -- players in all sports to 'take the plunge' and be honest about all aspects of their lives. I'm actually looking forward to reading his book...

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  4. Ryan and Reggie, did either of you catch the interview? When is it airing? I guess I could look this up, but.... :)

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  5. John:

    I believe the interview will be on tomorrow. I don't have cable, so I have no idea when it will air...check ESPN in the morning and see...

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  6. I caught the interview earlier this morning on ESPN's "Outside the Lines". What struck me most during the interview was how balanced, sincere and, comfortable in his skin he appeared to be.

    I came across this video from his site. Definitely not your everyday NBA player.

    It could open the door for a brave current NBA soul to take the next step, but I doubt it will.

    Also, J, when you watch the vid, which scene do you think made me chuckle? :-)

    Hi paddi!!

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