John Amaechi was the highest-paid British basketball star in America. But last month he made headline news for a different reason – as the first openly gay player in NBA history. Here he tells of his journey from Stockport to a $10m contract, of homophobia and death threats, and why sport must learn to be tolerant. I was four years old when my father, Jon, left the family. We were living in Boston, Massachusetts, at the time. My mother, Wendy, who was English and a doctor, had suffered years of torment and mental abuse from my father.