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John Amaechi @ Barnes & Noble at the Grove, 7/10

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First off this LAist was running late this morning and left his camera at home. Since I had to go to the Grove straight from work to make it on time, there is no photo of the event. No photo of me planting John Amaechi a wet sloppy kiss. So sorry folks.

Amaechi’s appearance at Barnes & Noble at the Grove concluded his whirlwind promotional tour for his memoir Man in the Middle which chronicles his journey from being a fat lazy bloke in Manchester, England to a closeted NBA center. You might remember the hubbub this book created back in February. Even former Miami Heat guard Tim Hardaway weighed in with pearls of wisdom like, "I hate gay people," and, "I wouldn't want him on my team."

As far as book readings go, it was far from typical namely since there was no reading involved. Thank goodness for that since I don’t think I could take a monotonous voice prattling on and on for over an hour.

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It was a Q&A session where Amaechi described his journey through America and his own post-NBA career as a psychologist for which he is pursuing his doctorate. He was quite frank at times noting that selfishness does at times motivate him in his charity work.

I sat there amazed by his charisma. When a difficult question arose he would ramble on and be interesting enough so no one remembered what the original question was. I'm still a little upset he never fully answered my question on what he thought the state of the gay community. Damn that British charm!

But one definite response I got from him was before the proceedings when I asked him if he wanted to play for the Lakers. He said that he's retired from the game.

"Come on. I'm sure your hands are better than Kwame Brown's," I shot back.

"No comment," he said with a laugh.

So I'm sorry Laker's fans. No old gay center for you.