Gay Basketball Players

Posted by Censor Librorum on Feb 9, 2007 | Categories: Lesbian in a Catholic Sort of Way

The first major realization that I was sexually attracted to females involved a close friend who was also a teammate on my basketball team. We were good friends, and hung out at school and played on the same CYO team together for three years. She was from Peru, and was very proud of her Inca heritage. I used to love hearing her stories about visiting her family in Lima, and trips to Lake Titicaca and other places high in the Andes. It sounded wonderful–wild and adventurous, so different than the leafy, manicured New Jersey suburb we lived in. We made one of those schoolgirl pacts to travel there together someday. Her name was Diane.

I had an erotic dream about Diane my senior year. It shook me up. At first, I couldn’t imagine feeling that way about another girl…and a teammate to boot. I suppressed the feelings, but couldn’t forget the dream, and the realization I was aroused and attracted by her. I hid my attraction, but my awareness of it stayed with me from then on.

After graduation we went our separate ways. A very good student as well as athlete, she ended up a math major at Duke. I hadn’t intended to lose touch with Diane, but I did. I think of her from time to time, especially during basketball season. I hope Life has treated her well. She was a lovely person and a good friend. Too bad we never had our adventure to Peru!

I thought of her yesterday, when I read about John Amaechi, Boston-born and British-raised, who became the first former NBA player to come out. His book, “Man in the Middle,” will be released on Valentine’s Day by ESPN books.

He said he led an actively gay life during most of his time with the Cleveland Cavaliers, Orlando Magic and Utah Jazz between 1995 and 2003. “When I was in New York during road trips, I’d check out Splash, a big gay club in Chelsea..I was hiding, but in plain sight.”

Anaechi, 36, spent years under the radar, from his first gay encounter in a men’s room in Penn State, where he played his college ball, to his final years in Utah, where he claims head coach Jerry Sloan traded him for personal reasons.

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