John Amaechi To Speak On Campus Friday

Penn Stater and former NBA basketball player John Amaechi will return to State College this Friday to present a talk, hosted by the Institute for the Arts and Humanities, titled “More Chance of Being Hit by a Meteor: What to do when your dreams defy probability and exceed other people’s imagination.” The presentation, held in 117 Henderson, will run from 1-2 p.m.

The name of the speech draws inspiration from Amaechi’s physics teacher, who suggested that he’s more likely to be hit by a meteor than play in an NBA game. But that didn’t discourage the young Brit, who left England for the United States to pursue the sport only shortly after picking up a basketball for the first time. After transferring from Vanderbilt, Amaechi was a two-time First Team Academic All-American, and then enjoyed a career in both the NBA and overseas.

“Amaechi’s own remarkable story is a blueprint in terms of the process required to defy convention and achieve your own definition of success,” the event page states. “Chronicling a tumultuous childhood and an extraordinary journey from 17-year-old ‘fat, geeky, British kid’ to NBA starter in six short years, and then another transformation from athlete to a career as a psychologist in professional services and educational environments, John will highlight the processes and mindset adjustments that create the chance to beat the odds and achieve your own impossible dream.”

Following his basketball career, Amaechi continued his academic ventures by pursuing a Ph.D., and is now a member of the American Psychological Association, as well as other psych centers. As one of the first NBA players to come out, he has also become a champion for homosexual athletes.

Amaechi’s last return to Penn State as the Homecoming Grand Marshall was not without some controversy. He was critical of Joe Paterno following the Sandusky scandal, and called the student riots that followed Paterno’s firing “disgusting.” In an interview with ESPN’s Dan Le Batard, Amaechi said he was “ashamed” to be a Penn State alum.

Despite the critics, his motivational talk about pursuing your dreams is sure to inspire the Penn State public — particularly those of us who are graduating in less than three weeks.

Photo: Touchvision

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Ben Berkman

State College, PA

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