NBA Local Special: February 9

Editor's note: ESPN.com is waking up early in the morning and aggregating news from papers around the country to bring you the latest NBA talk.

Previous Reports:

Jan. 30 | Jan. 31 | Feb. 1 | Feb. 2 | Feb. 5 | Feb. 6

Amaechi's Tale Is Much Ado About Nothing
So, John Amaechi does what no other NBA player has done - he swings open the closet door and writes that he is gay. And leaves it for everyone else to do what he or she will: React. Well. What went through your mind? Here's what went through mine: No big deal. It's interesting that the subject of homosexuality is treated in the sports world the way it is - with misunderstanding that sometimes edges toward paranoia. -- Salt Lake Tribune

Sexuality Disclosed, Ignorance Exposed
Just as it would be a relief to arrive at the place in time when the color of the coaches in the Super Bowl matters not one bit, it would be fabulous to reach the day when a male athlete in a team sport doesn't have to worry about the reaction of declaring his homosexuality. But that day isn't here just yet, as we found out this week now that John Amaechi has become the first former NBA player to publicly say he's gay. The reaction to Amaechi's announcement in advance of his soon-to-be-released autobiography, "Man in the Middle," is all over the place, from appropriate indifference to utterances that border on homophobic to, well, stock ignorance. -- Washington Post

Gay In The NBA
Former NBA center John Amaechi is promoting his book, "Man in the Middle," which serves as his coming-out vehicle. That makes Amaechi the first openly gay player to come out. Pistons point guard Chauncey Billups said it wouldn't bother him if a teammate were openly gay. "I don't care what you do in your private life," Billups said, "as long as it doesn't affect our team." -- Detroit Free Press

Does Sexual Orientation Supersede Talent In NBA?
There are surely gay athletes in all the major American team sports. But there has never been an openly gay active athlete in any of them. What would it take for that to change? It would take courage. It would take thick skin, because of the booing on the road and the skeptical glances in the locker room. It would take a sense of humor, because in a locker room, everything is comic fodder. But mostly, it would take undeniable athletic talent. Jackie Robinson succeeded partly because he had the right temperament, but also because he was too gifted to ignore. I don't know where we will find the first openly gay NBA player, but I'm sure it won't be on the bench. -- Detroit Free Press

Not A Courageous Act
I couldn't care less that Amaechi is gay. And I couldn't care less that he wants to share his story. But, please, don't tell me how courageous he is for doing so. It would have been an act of courage to come out without the lure of profit. It would have been an act of courage (and stupidity) to come out when he was still playing. I am glad he didn't do that. As progressive as I like to think we are as a society, professional sports is not ready to accept or deal with a homosexual athlete. Remember how Karl Malone reacted when he first learned that Magic Johnson had the AIDS virus? He didn't want to play against him for fear that he would be sweat on, or bled on or touched. Well, the arena of professional sports has grown up since then, but not enough to open their arms to homosexuals. -- Detroit News

It's No Coming-Out Party
The ignorance of others doesn't detract from John Amaechi's brave decision, but it helps explain why the former NBA player waited until after retirement to come out. Unfortunately, it seems that no matter how far the rest of society advances, men's professional team sports remain grounded in a homophobic world. Did you read what superstar LeBron James said about Amaechi? James gave a new twist to the ''don't ask, don't tell'' policy in his remarks to reporters. On one hand, James doesn't think an openly gay player could survive in the NBA. On the other hand, James thinks Amaechi is untrustworthy for not having come out while he was an active player. -- Chicago Sun-Times

Knicks Address Amaechi Issue
In the wake of former NBA center John Amaechi announcing that he's gay in his upcoming book, predictably it was a topic of conversation at Knick practice yesterday, with the thought of playing with a homosexual teammate provoking a myriad of reactions. Guard Jamal Crawford admitted it might be "a little awkward." Center Eddy Curry said he'd back a gay teammate but wouldn't comment on a gay opponent, and coach Isiah Thomas passionately called for tolerance. -- New York Post

Isiah Issues Respect Edict On Gays
A defiant Isiah Thomas vowed yesterday, "I'll make damn sure there is no problem" in the locker room if the Knicks were to acquire an openly gay player while he is the team's president and coach. ... "I can't speak for somebody else's locker room, but if it's mine, we won't have a problem," Thomas said at the Knicks' practice facility in Greenburgh. "I don't know (if the NBA is ready for an openly-gay player). But I know this league is not about discrimination. I do know that." -- New York Daily News

Tolerant Teammate
Rockets guard Tracy McGrady said Thursday he would not have had a problem with having an openly gay teammate had John Amaechi announced he was gay when both played for Orlando. Amaechi, who was with the Rockets early in the 2003-04 season but did not play in a game, announced he is homosexual prior to the release of his book Wednesday. "To each his own," McGrady said. "That's his own sexual preference. I had no problem with it when I played with him. You kind of had a sense. It didn't bother me. As long as a guy is producing on the basketball court, I don't care what he is. -- Houston Chronicle

Reactions Varied About Gay Disclosure
The Suns had various reactions to the disclosure and whether an openly gay player could function in the league. "I don't have a problem with it," coach Mike D'Antoni said. Steve Nash said, "I'm sure we're all mature enough to deal with it." Yet, he added, "It's a situation that's very difficult to envision because we haven't faced it. I don't see what the big deal would be. I'm sure we'd come up with some sort of ability to deal with it." Amaré Stoudemire said, "I'm definitely not a fan of gay-ness. But I would rather a person go ahead and admit they're gay rather than be undercover." He acknowledged that this is "a touchy topic" and that, "I don't want to get myself in trouble." Stoudemire, asked if players would eventually get used to a gay teammate, said, "No." -- East Valley Tribune