“Political conservatives tend to define gay people as immoral, perverted, and promiscuous, yet they deny them the one institution that to them represents the opposite. It’s a handy catch-22 with which to bind a whole group of people to second-class citizenship.” Comment by the former NBA star, John Amaechi.
John Amaechi is the son of a Nigerian father; he was raised in Stockport, England, by his English mother. Amaechi moved to the United States to play high school basketball at St. John’s High School in Toledo, Ohio. He began playing college basketball at Vanderbilt University, but transferred to Penn State where he was a two-time First Team Academic All-American selection.
The 6′ 10″, 270 lbs center was signed undrafted by the Cleveland Cavaliers in 1995. He played 28 games for the Cavaliers during the 1995-1996 season, then played for three years in Europe (France: Cholet, Limoges; Italy: Kinder Bologna; Greece: Panathinaikos; England: Sheffield Sharks) before signing with the Orlando Magic in 1999. With a solid 1999-2000 season, where he averaged 10.5 points in 21.1 minutes per contest, he gained fame for scoring the NBA’s first points of the new millennium in 2000. Amaechi went on to play for the Utah Jazz from 2001 to 2003.
He was traded to the Houston Rockets midway through his final NBA season and though he was an active player, he did not participate in any games for them. Amaechi came out of retirement to represent England during the Commonwealth Games in Melbourne, Australia, helping the England national basketball team win the Bronze Medal.
Recently Pensylvania State University named John Amaechi as the recipient of its 2006 Alumni Achievement Award. In addition, Amaechi is currently serving as an Ambassador for London’s 2012 Olympic Bid. He is a regular sports and current affairs commentor for the BBC, ITV and SKY as well as a presenter on a range of radio and television programs, including ITV’s ongoing “Britain on the Move” series and London’s Channel 5 weekly “Sport on Five.” In addition to maintaining broadcast interests in the United States, Amaechi is currently the face of Sport England’s latest “Everyday Sport” campaign.
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