What 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.