Growing up, John Amaechi always felt different: He was 6'10", mixed-race, with a Nigerian father and a British mother who raised him in Stockport, England, then he was doubly an outsider attending high school in the mid-1980s in Toldeo, Ohio and college at Vanderbilt and Penn State. So being gay was just one more distinction. Naturally he played basketball, but he was atypical in professional sports as well. In 2000, Amaechi turned down a $17 million contract with the Los Angeles Lakers in order to play for $600,000 a year with the Orlando Magic. His reason? Three years before, Orlando had been the only team to consider picking him up after his European stint. He also played for the Chicago Bulls, the Houston Rockets, and the Utah Jazz before retiring in 2003. His career stats can be found here. Early in 2007 he became the first player associated with the NBA to come out, when ESPN Books published his autobiography, Man in the Middle. He is beautifully articulate. He owns a consulting company that provides motivational speakers and executive training, and he runs the ABC Foundation in Manchester which had hoped to build youth sports centers throughout the U.K. In 2011 he was appointed OBE in the Birthday Honours for his services to sport and the voluntary sector.