LGBTQ Heroes: John Amaechi
Let’s take a look at the life and career of LGBTQ activist John Amaechi.
26 November 1970
Although born in Boston in the United States, Amaechi grew up in Stockport in England.
At the age of 17, Amaechi began playing basketball. He returned to the United States to play high school basketball at St John’s Jesuit High School in Toledo, Ohio.
Amaechi began playing college basketball at Vanderbilt, but transferred to Penn State. He was signed by the Cleveland Cavaliers in 1995.
Amaechi played 28 games for the Cleveland Cavaliers during the 1995–1996 season, then played for two years in Europe – for Cholet and Limoges in France, for Kinder Bologna in Italy, Panathinaikos in Greece, and Sheffield Sharks in the UK.
Returning to the US in 1999, Amaechi signed with the Orlando Magic. Amaechi went on to play for the Utah Jazz from 2001 to 2003, and his professional playing career came to an end a few years later.
Life after sport
Amaechi owns Amaechi Performance Systems, which is a consultancy working with numerous companies to improve leadership and communication skills and organisational diversity
Amaechi began discussing his sexuality in media interviews in 2007, becoming the first NBA player to speak publicly about being gay.
Regularly appearing as a commentator on LGBTQ issues, particularly in relation to sport, Amaechi has become a powerful advocate encouraging professional sports teams to embrace diversity and support athletes who may be unsure whether or not to be honest about their sexuality.