Posts tagged ‘John Amaechi’

Ambassador Amaechi, Reporting for Duty


John Amaechi ’94 will add a new job to his already impressive resume: European Ambassador for the NBA. The new initiative will try to help expand the league’s youth development across the continent, and unsurprisingly, Amaechi was selected to be the ambassador to the United Kingdom.

Amaechi (seated, above, in glasses) will be involved with two of the NBA’s most notable programs: NBA Jr. and NBA Cares. The former is the league’s global youth participation program, while the latter is its global program that looks to address social issues.

In a press release, Amaechi said “I am delighted to work with the NBA to grow the game of basketball. The NBA is dedicated to creating engaging programs for young people, providing them with a deeper understanding of the game through fun, interactive experiences with the sport. I am honored to work alongside my fellow ambassadors in this exciting program.”

Bill DiFilippo, online editor


October 11, 2016 at 1:40 pm Leave a comment

John Amaechi Meets the President


Barack Obama held a town hall meeting in London in April. Among those in attendance was John Amaechi ’94. As he explained in a blog post, Amaechi was invited to the event by the U.S. Ambassador to the United Kingdom.

Several minutes into the event, Amaechi was pulled aside by an aide because the President wanted to meet with him once the town hall ended. He watched Obama speak, then was led into a side room with a handful of celebrities.

Amaechi recalls extending his hand to Obama, receiving a hug, discussing his work as a psychologist, and getting praised for his efforts in helping the world make “huge leaps in the area of inclusion.”

He ended his post by reflecting on his meeting with the President.

I talk to leaders about how they must consider themselves giants whose whispers are shouts, for whom the impact of every action is magnified and who, by merely standing, can cast a great shadow.  I think perhaps the greatest compliment I can make of my meeting with President Obama is that while I am a man who considers myself a giant; I stood in the shadow of a greater giant and only felt brighter – and taller – for the experience.

Amaechi is no stranger to meeting politicians, as he’s received the Freedom of the City of London and is a member of the Order of the British Empire.

Bill DiFilippo, online editor

June 9, 2016 at 1:12 pm 2 comments

The Penn Stater Daily — Feb. 6, 2014

LaVar Arrington works the crowd at yesterday's Signing Day event at the BJC. Photo by Curtis Chan.

LaVar Arrington works the crowd at yesterday’s Signing Day event at the BJC. Photo by Curtis Chan.

Signing of the times: Yesterday, we told you about the morning’s National Signing Day extravaganza in the Lasch Building (there was an omelet station, people). But that was just the beginning. Last night’s “Signature Event” at the BJC featured even more fanfare, with help from the Blue Band, the cheerleaders, and LaVar Arrington ’00, who helped Coach James Franklin introduce the recruits. Check out the Football Letter’s recap here.

A powerful message: The Winter Olympics in Sochi are upon us, and on the eve of the opening ceremony, former NBA player John Amaechi ’94 is speaking out against’s Russia’s anti-gay laws. In a piece from yesterday’s The Guardian, Amaechi encourages athletes to use social media to “make their position clear.” Those who don’t speak out, he says, are complicit: “For me, silence in the face of attendance in Sochi is complicity. You become nothing more than another Sochi mascot that people can have their photograph taken with as a memento of the abdication of responsibility.”

Snow daze: It’s a question most of us probably asked ourselves yesterday morning, while trudging through the slippery sludge around University Park: What does it take for Penn State to get a snow day? Well, as Onward State‘s Ali Fogarty found out, the answer is fairly complex — and it involves an official “snow marshal.”

Mary Murphy, associate editor

February 6, 2014 at 12:16 pm Leave a comment

For Now, and For the Future


Column: A plea for respect and understanding among all who call themselves Penn Staters, and a reminder of our shared fate.

Sitting in my office on another perfect September day, I can look at the most recent issue of our magazine, and at the stories we’re writing and editing for the next one, and find constant reminders of the things that make this place great.

Working at The Penn Stater, we’re fortunate to meet and interact with a lot of the individuals whose intelligence, ingenuity, and hard work make that greatness possible. Just in the past few months, I’ve had the chance to interview faculty members whose research explains everything from the genetic influence on our voting habits to the science of zombified ants. I’ve met students who have established themselves as leaders on campus, in town, and beyond—smart, insightful young adults who are already doing important work. And of course, there are our fellow alumni. Literally every day, we hear about another alum—an artist, an educator, a public servant, or an entrepreneur—who is doing something important, unusual, or just plain cool. As writers and editors, we’re lucky to have such a rich vein of people, and stories, from which to choose.

It is this collective—of faculty and staff, of current students, and of more than half a million living alumni—who combine to make Penn State great. More than an institution, Penn State is a community, and like any community, every demographic contributes to the whole. We are greater than the sum of our parts, and we are weaker when those parts don’t function in unison. Right now, in too many ways, unity among Penn Staters seems increasingly hard to find.

There is room for constructive disagreement within a community—such critical discourse is vital. The problem is the increasingly combative, often disrespectful, and occasionally hateful tone of “debate” among various members of our community. It seems to have come to a head over the past week. (more…)

September 26, 2013 at 5:01 pm 32 comments

John Amaechi Honored by Queen of England

We don’t have to call him “Sir John”—at least not yet. But as part of the Queen of England’s birthday celebration over the weekend, former Nittany Lion basketball star John Amaechi ’94 received the Order of the British Empire, which is awarded to citizens of the United Kingdom who have performed a valuable service.

Amaechi’s impressive resume, which includes time with three NBA teams, becoming the first openly gay NBA player, earning a doctorate in psychology, campaigning for human rights and LGBT issues, and working with at-risk youth, surely caught the queen’s eye.

“I see this honour as a chance to reach out and do more to create an equality of opportunity for all people, but especially to inspire young people,” Amaechi said in this story from MVP Basketball. “I was once an overweight bookworm who hid in the corner of my school library and wished I was invisible.

“My mother told me that I could do better than just disappear—she convinced me that the most unlikely of people, in the most improbable of situations can become extraordinary.  I hope to use this platform to convince other young people just how true this can be for them too.”

The 6-foot-10 Amaechi kept his sense of humor, too, noting that many people who are so honored say that they are standing on the shoulders of giants. “I feel very much like I am here today due to efforts of numerous people, but in my case, I am a giant who is standing on the shoulders of slightly smaller people.”

Lori Shontz, senior editor

June 13, 2011 at 3:40 pm Leave a comment

John Amaechi Takes On Kobe Bryant

One of the big sports stories of the week has been NBA star Kobe Bryant being caught on camera uttering a gay slur at a referee. Of the many opinions offered in the story’s wake, arguably none are as well-informed as that of John Amaechi ’94, the former Penn State hoop star who remains the only former NBA player to come out as gay. Amaechi, an outspoken advocate for gay rights and other social issues, addressed the issue today in an essay on the New York Times website.

Based on Kobe’s words today in a radio interview, it sounds like the Laker superstar might’ve been paying attention.

Ryan Jones, senior editor

April 15, 2011 at 3:29 pm Leave a comment

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