John Amaechi, British import to the National Basketball Association, recently publicly declared he is gay.

Reporting on the ESPN website, Chris Sheridan writes, 

In a groundbreaking revelation that began to reverberate around the NBA on Wednesday, former player John Amaechi has become the first professional basketball player to openly identify himself as gay. Amaechi, who played at Penn State and spent five seasons in the NBA with Orlando, Utah and Cleveland, comes out in an upcoming book entitled “Man in the Middle” to be released later this month by ESPN Books. 

His story is fascinating and his plans for British basketball are ambitious. Watch this video for more information on this interesting fellow. He has great plans to expand basketball in Britain and is leading an effort to field a competitive basketball team for Britain in the Olympic Games. There is a Wikipedia entry about him as well. His first TV interview on this subject will be on ESPN’s Outside the Lines program at 9:30am, 2/11/07.

David Jones, a Patriot-News writer who knows Amaechi from his Penn State University days provides an in-depth report. Mr. Jones writes in his Wednesday, February 7 column,

It’s amazing how long a secret can keep when everyone knows it.

About 12 years ago, around the end of John Amaechi’s senior year at Penn State, I was told by a mutual acquaintance that the beloved, Brit-import PSU men’s basketball center was gay. There was no rumor about it, the friend said. It was common knowledge among the PSU homosexual community.

His disclosures and the ESPN coverage is sure to raise the profile of homosexuality in sports. The video on the ESPN website about the possible prevalence of gay athletes features a discussion with Greg Anthony, former player who say about gay athletes: “We know they’re there.” Will a current player come out of the closet? The ESPN analysts aren’t sure who or when but they believe it will happen. Mr. Anthony said he believes there are may be many such players.

 John Amaechi

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