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Amaechi Reaction

The outing of former NBA player John Amaechi has caused quite a stir in the NBA. He’s the first former NBA baller to admit he was gay, which is provoking various responses from people around the league – from idiotic to surprisingly thoughtful. The following is several quotes about the topic.

Philadelphia 76ers forward Shavlik Randolph: “I accept anybody. I don’t judge anybody. As a Christian, I don’t judge anybody. Just as long as you don’t bring your gayness on me, I’m fine. From what I’ve heard from other people, he seems to be a great guy. I would accept him as a teammate, but I don’t necessarily agree with his lifestyle.”

Houston Rockets star Tracy McGrady, who played with Amaechi in Orlando:“To each his own. That’s his own sexual preference. I had no problem with it when I played with him. You kind of had a sense. It didn’t bother me. As long as a guy is producing on the basketball court I don’t care what he is. … I have no problem with it. He is what he is. If he wants to come out and let everybody know his sexual (preference), it doesn’t matter to me. I don’t care. I wouldn’t have cared then. If he would have come out when I was his teammate, I wouldn’t have cared. If he was producing on the basketball court and was kept it professional, I would have had no problem with it.”

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Boston Celtics coach Doc Rivers:
“Hell, I was Coach of the Year the year John Amaechi started for me at the power forward spot (1999-00), so he was great for me. He was great on our team. I was just talking to someone, and that was one of the stronger locker rooms I’ve ever had with Darrell Armstrong and all those guys. They all got along, so I didn’t think it was an issue.
“I don’t know if anyone knew anyway, to be honest. I didn’t know. I think people talked about it obviously. Everyone thought maybe. I could care less though. It was brought up to me, and you look at it and say, `So what? Can he rebound. Can he shoot? Can he defend?’”

“John Amaechi when I was coaching him was a great kid. He did as much charity work as anybody in our city, and he’s still doing it. To me, I wish that’s what we focused on. Unfortunately we’re talking about his sexual orientation, which I really could give a flying flip about.”

Philadelphia 76ers center Steven Hunter:
“I don’t know what people do in their personal lives. Nowadays, it’s proven that people can live double lives. I watch a lot of TV so you see a lot of sick, perverted stuff about married men running around with gay guys and all types of foolishness. But if you’re gay, you’re gay. You’ve got just as much rights as anybody else. I don’t have a problem with people’s sexuality or nothing like that.”

“If he was my teammate, as long as he didn’t make any advances toward me or anything like that, I’m fine with it. I don’t have any problem with gay people. I don’t think it’s any of my business. As long as he comes to work every day with a professional attitude and left his sexuality outside the locker room, I definitely wouldn’t have any problem with it. I wouldn’t want to know. As long as he came to play basketball like a man and conduct himself like a good person, I’d be fine with it.”

Philadelphia 76ers coach Maurice Cheeks:
“I take people as they are. You are who you are, whatever that is. I don’t have no judgment on it at all. I think people take people for who they are. I certainly would. I would think players would do the same thing, take people for who they are. Who am I to pass judgment on anyone? People can be who they want to be. It’s not up to me to pass judgment on anyone.”

Cleveland Cavaliers star LeBron James:
“We’re like family and you take showers with each other. We’re on the bus together and we talk about a lot of things and if you’re not trustworthy, like admitting you’re gay, you can’t be trusted. It’s a trust factor.”

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“With teammates you have to be trustworthy, and if you’re gay and you’re not admitting that you are, then you are not trustworthy. So that’s like the number one thing as teammates . . . we all trust each other. You’ve heard of the in-room locker room code. What happens in the locker room stays there. It’s a trust factor.”

Cleveland Cavaliers forward Donyell Marshall, a teammate of Amaechi’s in Utah:“You have to be a strong-willed person to be able to play any sport [and openly acknowledge you're gay]. We’re in the locker room joking and laughing with each other and if something like that would slip, I don’t think they’d be able to go through that day in and day out.”

New York Knicks coach Isiah Thomas:
“Sports has always been a testing ground for what society will or won’t accept. We accept and we embrace diversity. If we’re not tolerant, we’ll become tolerant.
“If it’s in my locker room, we won’t have a problem with it. I can’t speak for somebody else’s locker room, but if it’s in mine, we won’t have a problem. I’ll make damn sure there’s no problem.”

Toronto Raptors coach Sam Mitchell, as told to the Toronto Sun:
“It shouldn’t be about tolerance. It should be about respect. People should treat people as human beings. I wouldn’t use the word tolerance. Are people supposed to tolerate me because I’m Black? Or are they supposed to treat me with respect because I’m a human being? I grew up in an area of this country (Georgia) where people didn’t like you because of the color of your skin. I can’t change the color of my skin any more than someone else can change who or what they are.”

NBA Commissioner David Stern:
“We have a very diverse league. The question at the NBA is always ‘Have you got game?’ That’s it, end of inquiry.”

Orlando Magic forward Pat Garrity:
“They would have teammates that would accept them for being a good person and a good teammate, and there would be people who would give him a hard time about it. I think that’s true if you’re playing basketball or in an office job. That’s just how the world is right now.”

New York center Eddy Curry:
“Oh, my goodness. No comment. I don’t even … no comment.”

Marcus Thompson

  • Lawrence

    Hello Marcus,always enjoy reading your view of the game.You didn’t quote any “idiotic” comments(though maybe the commish’s qualifies) about Amaechi, why encourage more, right? Are L.James and E. Curry the two youngest people quoted? They sound the least mature. Isaiah, Doc Rivers,Mo Cheeks,and Sam Mitchell spoke like men, thanks for passing on the words. peace

  • Marcus Thompson

    “Just don’t bring your gayness on me” qualifies as idiotic.

  • warriorfaithful

    While I will agree “gayness” is not the best term to use, I can understand what he means. He is referring to making any passes on him. And I’m not talking about passing the basketball.

  • UnitedWarriorFan

    I just want to say thank you for post the Sam Mitchell quote. I hadn’t seen it anywhere else and I thought it was both the most insightful and inspiring way to look at people’s differences in life not just people sexual orientation or skin color.