HoopsHype John Amaechi rumors

February 9, 2014 Updates
July 25, 2013 Updates

In the wake of his previous comments -- made shortly after another retired NBA player, John Amaechi, revealed he is gay -- a contrite Hardaway was introduced by a mutual friend to Vanessa Brito, a lesbian activist in Miami. She explained the potentially far-reaching ramifications of hate speech, which can incite bullies and traumatize those struggling with identity. Hardaway hadn't bothered to consider any of that. "With what I said, people could think it's OK to throw rocks at them or bully them,'' Hardaway said. "I just wanted to make people understand that what I said wasn't cool. I wanted to make amends for it.'' Contra Costa Times

May 1, 2013 Updates
April 2, 2013 Updates

In a video interview with HuffPost Live, Phil Jackson is asked whether sports organizations and players need to be more inclusive of gay athletes. Jackson, who played 12 seasons in the NBA and coached for 20, winning 11 championships along the way, had this response: That's a ridiculous question. I mean, none of us have probably ever seen it in all our careers. There's no inclusiveness to be had, so it's really a strange question. Jackson was then asked whether he meant there were no gay athletes in the NBA, to which he responded, "I've never run into it in all my career." Interesting, because in summer 2000, Jackson was entering his second season as coach of the Los Angeles Lakers, who had won the 1999-2000 NBA championship. The Lakers were in the market for a skilled backup center who could fit seamlessly into the triangle. Jackson reached out to free agent John Amaechi, who was coming off a solid season with the Orlando Magic. ESPN.com

January 16, 2013 Updates
January 4, 2013 Updates

John Amaechi has thanked doctors at hospitals in Manchester and Greater Manchester for saving his life after undergoing surgery to remove liquid from one of his lungs. The 42-year-old ex-Orlando Magic and Houston Rockets player, who resides in Stockport, contacted the emergency services after having difficulty breathing December. Once the problem was identified, Amaechi underwent an emergency operation which meant he was in hospital on Christmas day and during the New Year. However, Amaechi – who now works as a broadcaster, psychologist and as an educator – has been discharged from hospital. Recollecting about the ordeal, he told Manchester Evening News: “I went to the GP because I thought I had tonsillitis and she prescribed me some penicillin. Voice

October 3, 2012 Updates

Retired NBA player John Amaechi, the first former professional basketball player to come out as gay, will speak Tuesday at Framingham State University as part of the President’s Distinguished Lecture Series. Amaechi came out in his 2007 New York Times best-selling book, Man in the Middle. He will be speaking about the need for equality in athletics and in everyday life. His lecture is free and open to the public. It will take place on Tuesday at 7 p.m. in the Dwight Hall Performing Arts Center. Boston Globe

November 21, 2011 Updates

In his book, Amaechi was highly critical of coach Jerry Sloan, castigating him for his old-school and often profane motivational techniques. "Jerry raged against players whom he thought didn't play hard enough, claiming they were undermining coaches across the league," Amaechi wrote. "If we lost two or three in a row, he would stride into practice yelling, 'You (expletives) are trying to get me fired. I'm not losing my job because you guys aren't hustling.' "During one of these job-insecurity diatribes, Karl (Malone) looked at me and smirked, 'If only we were so lucky.' Then he went back to the posture he'd long ago adopted: working diligently on his game while pretending Jerry didn't exist." Standard-Examiner

November 17, 2011 Updates

Dan Le Batard had John Amaechi on his show yesterday to discuss the Penn State scandal and, as you might have expected, the former Nittany Lion knocked it out of the park in his usual eloquent fashion. Despite being embarrassed and horrified by what’s allegedly taken place at Penn State, Amaechi approached the topic with reason, logic and sensibility, otherwise known as character traits that, for the most part, cease to exist in State College. The clip is close to seven minutes long, which equates to roughly nine hours in internet time, but it’s absolutely worth watching in its entirety. Though if you’re truly pressed for time, skip ahead to the 3:35 mark where Amaechi drops the following line: “Again, nostalgia, history, legacy, loyalty, all of these things that are personal selfish qualities are getting in the way of empathy for young people who, we know, the evidence shows, lives have been changed forever. Damaged forever.” The Big Lead

November 16, 2011 Updates

Amaechi graduated from Penn State in 1995. He was the star center on the basketball team and an Academic All-America and he wants to stress this point first: He loves his school. He is not another "Penn Stater Hater," the new phrase in heavy rotation on various message boards. "I will never forget or regret going to Penn State," he says. "I have great affinity for a place that helped me become who I am. The lessons I learned, the professors I got to learn from -- it was remarkable." A native of England and a transfer from Vanderbilt, Amaechi arrived on campus in the early 90s. Then, as now, he was struck by the insularity of the football program. "It was clear that there were sports," he says, "and then there was football." He lived on-campus with all sort of students including athletes in other sports. Except for football players. "They lived apart," he says, "and we didn't get to see them in the regular course of things." SI.com

While at Penn State, Amaechi had some interactions with Jerry Sandusky. Sandusky recruited Amaechi to volunteer for Second Mile, the foundation for at-risk kid Sandusky had founded in 1977 and now, of course, figures prominently in this scandal. "It was myself and my cohorts -- a couple of wrestlers, volleyball players from the men's and women's side, runners. We would go down and do whatever [the kids] were doing, whether it was play days or sports activities," Amaechi recalls. "It's part of what makes this painful. I had no personal relationship [with Sandusky], but it almost feels like the athletes involved were what made Second Mile so alluring to the kids." SI.com

October 26, 2011 Updates

John Amaechi described anti-gay sentiment in sporting institutions and on the pitch as a "massive problem" that was often ignored or "relegated". He said: "I think people approach bigotry like there's a hierarchy. Homophobia has always been to the bottom of that ladder. "In sport there are institutions that haven't changed in 100 years and need to." Singling out the Football Association, he accused it of an abject failure to do enough to tackle the issue. "If you compare their emphasis on racism to what they've done on homophobia it's an embarrassment," he said. "There are people in the FA who aren't that pleased with the idea of women in the boardroom, never mind gay people." ESPN.com

August 12, 2011 Updates

Are there other gay players in the league? Andrei Kirilenko: I’ve only heard about one, John Amaechi, who has been playing with us for two years, but it did not affect anything in any way, it didn’t show. I’ve heard about it before and was a bit wary, but the guy didn’t express that in any way. It would be weird if a started offending him straight away and saying something like: «Hey you, get away from here». He was an absolutely normal man. Only one moment alerted me a bit: I was giving a New Year’s party at my place, invited everybody, him including. He told me he would come with his partner. I didn’t make much of it. OK, let it be a partner – after all, who knows who he means, maybe his wife or his girlfriend. But even if I knew he was gay, I would still invite him. After all, what do I care? Sports.ru

June 10, 2011 Updates

Former NBA basketball player John Amaechi has been awarded the Order of the British Empire for his services to sport and to the voluntary sector, it was announced in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List, today. The awards, which recognise outstanding merit and service, are published twice a year, at the beginning of the new year and on the Queen’s official birthday. Pink Paper

May 17, 2011 Updates

Specifically, Amaechi said late Jazz owner Larry Miller fostered an anti-gay environment in Utah. “When I played in Utah, it wasn’t subtle messages, it was explicit messages that said, ‘Stay where you are. We may know that you’re gay but we don’t want to deal with the ramifications of you coming out publicly.’ I constantly felt under threat,” Amaechi said. “I played for a team in Utah for example where our owner, I think he has passed away since, ran into our locker room when the film ‘Brokeback Mountain’ came out and screamed at everybody that he wasn’t going to let that film play on his cinemas, and he happened to own most of the cinemas in Salt Lake City. That’s a not too subtle way of letting everybody know where he stands on the position of homosexuality, and it’s not the kind of thing that inspires you to then stand up and say, ‘Yes, I’m gay.’ I absolutely was convinced that at that point I would’ve lost my job.” Sporting News

May 11, 2011 Updates

NC State basketball player CJ Leslie is apologizing for his Twitter comment about an NBA player's sexuality, but one University group calling for action. On Tuesday afternoon, Leslie took to his Twitter account to speak his mind about former NBA player John Amaechi. "i'm no anti gay But I would rather not have a gay n the locker room. john Amaechi is to big to be gay...#imjussayin," tweeted Leslie. NBC17.com

Early Wednesday morning, after hearing news that his tweet caused a stir among some people, Leslie went back to Twitter to issue an apology. "Wanna apologize for hurting or offending any 1 with my tweets yesterday...Was watching espn about it and didn't think before I tweeted. Meant no disrespect to any 1." NBC17.com

April 15, 2011 Updates

John Amaechi: Kobe Bryant isn’t some great, bigoted monster, as some have implied, but he isn’t the innocent victim of some overblown one-off incident about a word that’s “not even that bad,” either. This controversy is not a storm in a teacup turned into a vendetta by loony liberals, as many in the sports world seem to think. What our heroes say and do means something — and in an America where sports stars carry more influence and in some cases more credibility than senators, what they say matters more than ever. When someone with the status of Kobe Bryant, arguably the best basketball player in a generation, hurls that antigay slur at a referee or anyone else — let’s call it the F-word — he is telling boys, men and anyone watching that when you are frustrated, when you are as angry as can be, the best way to demean and denigrate a person, even one in a position of power, is to make it clear that you think he is not a real man, but something less. New York Times

John Amaechi: I am tired of people having this debate about the relative impact of pejorative words on their target minority group. If injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere, then the relative power of an antigay gay slur is irrelevant, it is simply a threat to human dignity, and that should appall us all. I don’t think Kobe Bryant is some vicious homophobe, but I do think he made a mistake and has sounded more like a squirming politician than a national hero since the incident came to light. When you know that people hang on your every word, you should take more responsibility when the wrong words spill out in anger. When you understand that people treat you like a god, you should endeavor to be more benevolent when you exceed expectations and more contrite when you let people down. New York Times

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