A B-Baller Comes Out

John Amaechi is the first NBA player to come out as a gay man.
John Amaechi will sign books in Houston March 12.

Former professional basketball athlete John Amaechi, whose career stops included the Houston Rockets, created international news in February when he became the first NBA player to come out as a gay man. Amaechi made the revelation in his book Man in the Middle: My Life in and Out of Bounds, published by ESPN Books, and on the ESPN interview program Behind the Lines on February 11.

Following his announcement, Amaechi, who played at Penn State and spent five seasons in the NBA, joined the Human Rights Campaign as spokesperson for the national GLBT advocacy group’s Coming Out Project. Last month, Amaechi embarked on an HRC/ESPN-sponsored tour to sign copies of Man in the Middle and discuss the issue of GLBT athletes, which will include a stop in Houston on March 12, 7 p.m., at the Barnes & Noble Town & Country location (12850 Memorial Dr., Suite 1600).
Amaechi’s announcement acquired even greater import when another former NBA star, Tim Hardaway, made widely reported disparaging remarks about Amaechi and gay athletes in an interview aired on a Miami sports radio station. “You know, I hate gay people, so I let it be known,” Hardaway said on WAXY-AM. “I don’t like gay people, and I don’t like to be around gay people. I am homophobic. I don’t like it. It shouldn’t be in the world or in the United States.”
In response, the NBA removed Hardaway from his scheduled participation in events related to the pro basketball all-star game weekend, February 17-18. “It is inappropriate for him to be representing us given the disparity between his views and ours,” NBA commissioner David Stern said in a statement issued by the league.
According to the HRC, Amaechi will blog during his nationwide tour, which began on February 17 at the HRC gala in Philadelphia and includes another Texas stop, in Dallas on February 26. Read his blog at www.hrc.org/amaechi.

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