Former NBA player John Amaechi reveals in his new autobiography that he’s gay. The book, “Man in the Middle” (ESPN Books) will be released Feb. 14.
Three years after his playing career ended, Amaechi is the sixth professional male athlete from one of the four major American sports (NBA, MLB, NFL, NHL) to publicly discuss his homosexuality.
The others: David Kopay, Roy Simmons and Esera Tuaolo (NFL), and Glenn Burke and Billy Bean (MLB).
Amaechi, 36, who’s British, played for Penn State, then played 301 NBA games over five seasons. The 6-foot-9 center averaged 6.2 points and 2.6 rebounds in the NBA for Cleveland, Orlando and Utah.
OutSports.com obtained a galley of the autobio and says that Amaechi paints himself as a lonely closet case. That his sexual identity was an open secret in pro-basketball circles.
Amaechi now runs the U.K.-based ABC Foundation, which is designed “to get kids playing sports,” according to his Web site. “The ABC Foundation aims to increase participation in physical activity and holistic support services by building affordable, quality facilities and making expert coaches, respected mentors and educators available to all young people.”
On Sunday, Amaechi will publicly announce that he’s gay on an episode of ESPN’s “Outside The Lines.” The show airs 8:30 p.m.
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition February 9, 2007