Womhoops Guru

Mel Greenberg covered college and professional women’s basketball for the Philadelphia Inquirer, where he worked for 40 plus years. Greenberg pioneered national coverage of the game, including the original Top 25 women's college poll. His knowledge has earned him nicknames such as "The Guru" and "The Godfather," as well as induction into the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame in 2007.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Amaechi asks 'Why speak if not to change the world?'

(Guru's Note: If this is your first stop of the day, Acacia has checked in from Vassar with the report below. We have some commentary over at Women's Hoops Guru at Philly.com on the impending WNBA announcement of a new team in Atlanta. Just click the link in this note to head that way, and if you've already been there but using the link into here, welcome. Incidentally, Acacia might return with a quick hello to you all because it appears she had started writing such when we barged into the site to edit this note into the top of this story. If she decides never mind, then, never mind. -- Mel)

By Acacia O'Connor

POUGHKEEPSIE, N.Y. _ "Would you recognize your soul in the dark?" John Amaechi asked a full room of Vassar College students, coaches, faculty and other community members.

He repeated the question, which his mother once asked him when, at the age of 17, he informed her he wanted to play in the NBA. Looking at her bookish, not incredibly athletic son Amaechi's mother did not point out that he had no previous experience in the game of basketball; instead she told him it seemed as if it would be an incredible journey.

Just so. Amaechi's career in basketball is surprising and impressive enough to speak for itself. A two-time First team All-American at Penn State, Amaechi was signed undrafted by the Cleveland Caveliers in 1995. He was the first Brit to play in the NBA and the first undrafted free agent to win a starting position in the league. After playing in Europe in 1996, he returned to the NBA where he played for the Orlando Magic, the Chicago Bulls and the Utah Jazz.

Most of those present at the lecture on Oct. 8 knew Amaechi for one of two reasons: First, because of his basketball celebrity or secondly, because in February he became the first (former) NBA player to come out as being gay.

Despite this fact, Amaechi spoke relatively little about these two facts of his life, which he addresses in his new book Man in the Middle. Instead he engaged the students in audience in a conversation about tolerance, activism and the power of their generation.

"I'm here to recruit you... and not to 'the gay side'," he said to a chorus of laughter.

"I'm frustrated."

Amaechi went on to talk eloquently about oppression and diversity, in a way that was somehow both cynical and inspiring.

He said he was offended by the notion that he was someone who should be "tolerated."

"I have no time for that phrase," he said, adding that tolerance is something he has for American Caesar salads with anchovies, not an attitude toward people different from onesself. "How many times in history are we going to decide how many fifths human people are?" he asked.

Though he gets dozens of invitations to come and speak, he said he accepts few. Why visit already-liberal schools such as Vassar?

"You people are going to become disproportionately powerful very soon," Amaechi said. "You will be the policy makers, the teachers... the good news is that your generation is the most open of any to date."

Another of the central themes of the talk was Amaechi's concept of creating a future history. Martin Luther King Jr., when he gave his "I have a Dream" speech, had an idea of what the future history might look like: an image in his mind of what the world could be and a will to create it. Amaechi said he could only ask that those present to do some meta-thinking about their "future histories."

"[My future history] is about making a connection between me and other people," he said. "I do small things, with a view on the big picture."

Being a self-proclaimed cynic, is Amaechi skeptical about the possibility of changing things?

"I'm hopeful," he said. "I have hope. That's why I'm here."

"One thing I always ask now is 'Why speak if not to change the world?' "

-- Acacia

Labels: , , ,

4 Comments:

Blogger ninest123 Ninest said...

ninest123 09.09
oakley sunglasses, tiffany and co, cheap ugg boots outlet, ugg outlet, prada outlet, cheap ugg boots, ugg australia, jordan shoes, replica watches, replica watches, christian louboutin shoes, nike air max, louis vuitton handbags, burberry outlet online, tiffany jewelry, nike free, christian louboutin, nike air max, michael kors outlet online, louis vuitton outlet, polo ralph lauren, michael kors outlet online, red bottom shoes, cheap oakley sunglasses, nike outlet, prada handbags, burberry outlet online, ugg boots clearance, michael kors outlet store, michael kors outlet, polo ralph lauren outlet, louis vuitton, christian louboutin outlet, oakley vault, louis vuitton outlet, longchamp outlet online, ray ban outlet, tory burch outlet online, michael kors handbags, louis vuitton outlet online, longchamp handbags, longchamp outlet, gucci handbags, michael kors outlet online sale, ray ban sunglasses

3:46 AM  
Blogger ninest123 Ninest said...

nike free pas cher, air max pas cher, guess pas cher, true religion jeans, kate spade outlet, coach outlet, hermes pas cher, kate spade outlet online, true religion, vans pas cher, coach purses, ray ban pas cher, michael kors, nike roshe run, tn pas cher, michael kors uk, lacoste pas cher, timberland pas cher, scarpe hogan, longchamp, true religion outlet, michael kors outlet online, nike air force, north face pas cher, air jordan, oakley pas cher, longchamp pas cher, north face, true religion outlet, sac vanessa bruno, new balance pas cher, coach outlet, coach outlet store online, burberry pas cher, converse pas cher, hollister uk, nike air max, ray ban uk, hollister, chanel handbags, nike blazer pas cher, lululemon outlet online, michael kors canada, louboutin, ralph lauren pas cher

3:48 AM  
Blogger ninest123 Ninest said...

chi flat iron, new balance outlet, soccer shoes, nike air max, instyler ionic styler, beats headphones, jimmy choo shoes, hollister clothing store, mac cosmetics, herve leger, nfl jerseys, abercrombie and fitch, nike free, abercrombie and fitch, asics shoes, ferragamo shoes, vans outlet, nike roshe, lululemon outlet, valentino shoes, soccer jerseys, reebok shoes, hollister, ralph lauren uk, insanity workout, p90x workout, mulberry uk, nike trainers, nike air huarache, celine handbags, birkin bag, longchamp, north face jackets, north face jackets, air max, wedding dresses, nike air max, babyliss, mcm handbags, nike roshe, mont blanc pens, bottega veneta, giuseppe zanotti, baseball bats, ghd

3:51 AM  
Blogger ninest123 Ninest said...

michael kors handbags, sac louis vuitton, pandora jewelry, swarovski uk, pandora jewelry, air max, marc jacobs handbags, links of london uk, abercrombie, ugg, vans, coach outlet, gucci, louis vuitton uk, converse, michael kors outlet online, louboutin, oakley, louis vuitton pas cher, uggs canada, juicy couture outlet, converse shoes, wedding dress, pandora charms, doke gabbana outlet, louis vuitton canada, toms outlet, hollister canada, pandora uk, replica watches, louis vuitton, supra shoes, thomas sabo uk, montre femme, swarovski jewelry, sac lancel, ugg, karen millen, ray ban, ugg boots, juicy couture, michael kors outlet, timberland boots, iphone case, ugg soldes, ralph lauren
ninest123 09.09

3:52 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home