John Amaechi comes out as former NBA player

At least, that’s the idea of this hilarious Onion article.  Who would have guessed that this very tall British homosexual had ever played in the NBA?

Seriously, this is a really interesting story, but the story here is not the one being told by ESPN; rather, it’s the one being told about ESPN.

If you’re not familiar with Amaechi’s story, here’s the condensed version: ESPN’s book publisher signed former NBA player John Amaechi to write a book about his experiences in the NBA as a gay player.  The fact that he is gay was not public knowledge, so this book essentially involves him coming out publicly.  That’s all well and good, except that ESPN has turned what is really a back-page non-event into a big feature news story.

Regardless of your views on homosexuality, it’s not news for anyone to come out in 2007, NBA player or not.  Amaechi wasn’t even a good NBA player, so the storyline of the Onion article isn’t really that farfetched.  I vaguely remember him as an end-of-the-bench big man who lasted a couple of years.  I’m not even sure this would be an interesting story if the player coming out happened to be Karl Malone, Clyde Drexler, or any other star player, save maybe Michael Jordan.

This is simply a case of ESPN realizing that the period between the Super Bowl and March Madness is typically the slowest of the year in sports news, so this year they decided to make up their own news.  They got to break a worthless “story,” prattle on about it on the air, ask every current and former NBA player about it, and finally catch someone who’s not as tolerant as others are.  Then they get to start the cycle over again.

Hopefully ESPN will stop patting itself on the back in time for the end of the college basketball regular season and baseball’s spring training, which for me is one of the most exciting times of the year.

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6 thoughts on “John Amaechi comes out as former NBA player

  1. Huh? What? Karl Malone is gay? With John Stockton?

    Actually, I rather doubt that, considering Malone’s a spokesman for the NRA.

  2. Not that big of a deal? How is a NBA player coming out not that big of a story? How many other NBA players do you know that have come out saying they were gay?…..i can’t think of any so this fact in itself makes it a decent story, and would it not be a big deal if one of the 50 greatest players in the NBA came out of the closet admitting thier homosexuality….i think that would be one of the biggest sports stories of the year.

  3. Yeah, maybe it would be big news if Karl Malone were the player coming out. With John Amaechi, though, I’m not sure why anyone should care. I certainly don’t.

    I guess we’ll have to agree to disagree on this one, Hindsight. People come out all the time now, so John Amaechi is not really special for doing so in 2007. With this story, ESPN is just trying to fill the dead space in their news calendar.

  4. i dont’ see how it is a big deal….someone playing in the professional ranks of the sporting world coming out gay….wouldn’t be a big deal if there were people coming out also but when you can probably name the number of people coming out on the professional scale on one hand then that fact in itself makes it a big story

  5. Very insighful ‘hindsight3525’ … Announcing you’re gay in professional sports is still virtually unheard of and a HUGE shock. Has anyone else come out? Homosexuality in pro sports is still extremely taboo, and for someone to come out in the open is suprising; you can tell just how suprising by listening to the responses from current NBA stars such as LeBron James, and past stars such as Charles Barkely and Tim Hardaway (if you would call him a ‘star’)

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