John Amaechi is a former basketball player who bravely came out following his retirement from the sport and is now regarded as one of the most high profile gay athletes in the world. He is well placed to talk abut battling against adversity, dealing with discrimination and remaining determined no matter what the circumstances and does so with charm and wit in front of any audience.
Born in Boston in 1970, John began playing college basketball at Vanderbilt and soon became a motivational public speaker and a mentor for the area’s youth. His playing career took him to teams like Cleveland Cavaliers, Cholet in France and Kinder Bologna in Italy as well as Sheffield Sharks in England. In terms of high profile US teams, John turned out for Orlando Magic, Utah Jazz and the Houston Rockets and gained fame for scoring the NBA’s first points in the year 2000. Turning down a $17 million contract offer from the Los Angeles Lakers in the same year, John remained at the Houston Rockets and eventually retired in 2003. In his time John also played in the Commonwealth Games and won a bronze medal for his efforts. Nowadays Amaechi is a member of the American Psychological Association, regularly commentates on TV and is also involved with the ABC Foundation in Manchester, which encourages children to take up sports in their local area.
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