Apr 05, 2007
Articles: Profile: John Amaechi & the Silence of the NBA
"I'm going up to my room for some of my own fresh Earl Grey. I can't stand the hotel's." Never before have I interviewed a pro athlete who referred to himself as a "tea snob." But then again, John Amaechi is hardly the typical ex-jock, and his newfound existence as "the first former professional basketball player to be openly gay" has little to do with it.
Amaechi, raised in Britain, sounds more like Laurence Olivier than Lawrence Bird. He writes poetry. He has opinions beyond "playing one game at a time." He is also a principled man of the left, passionate about challenging the war in Iraq, the NRA, racism and, now that he is out of the closet, homophobia.
But there's one group not rejoicing or even reacting to Amaechi's news: the National Basketball Association. The NBA has been, as Amaechi said, "resoundingly silent." Since he came out, no former pro teammate--and only his former Orlando Magic coach, Doc Rivers--has even made contact with the man they called Meech.