Basketball Coaching: English NBA Standout On Enlightened Leadership and Fatherhood

John Amaechi, gay athletes, sports coaching psychology
We’ve been looking forward to having John Amaechi on the show for a long time. He’s a gentleman, a scholar and a retired world-class basketball player.

He’s best known for having been Britain’s most successful NBA player, with starting roles at the Cleveland Caveliers, the Orlando Magic and the Utah, Jazz. Impressive, but what’s amazing is that John hadn’t even picked up a basketball until his was 17 years old. Before that he was a bookish, chubby kid living with his single mum near Manchester.

What followed was an incredibly ambitious and intense five-year training programs that brought him into the NBA. This is all detailed in his excellent book Man in the Middle. The autobiography also movingly recounts his evolution from being an “in the closet” gay man during his time playing professional basketball to becoming an active and articulate advocate for gay, lesbian, bi-sexual and trans-gender rights, inside and outside the world of sports. Oh, and did I mention he also adopted two at-risk boys and raised them to adulthood. At the ripe old age of 44, he’s now a grandfather.
john-amaechi-bbcHaving studied organizational psychology while playing full time basketball, John is now highly sought-after consultant and performance coach as well as being a commentator on the BBC and active with numerous charities. His website is
john-amaechi-man-in-the-middle-book is a weekly series of interviews with world-class coaches, sports scientists and sports writers. It’s hosted by Glenn Whitney, a mentor to coaches and a leadership advisor.

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Topics: Basketball coaching, NBA, Orlando Magic, John Amaechi, gay athletes, sports coaching psychology, fatherhood