For the first time, a professional basketball player is to announce that he is gay.

British-born John Amaechi, who retired from the NBA league three years ago, will reveal his sexuality in an ESPN TV show later this month, reports the San Francisco Chronicle.

The 36-year-old, who is of English and Nigerian parentage, grew up in Stockport.

He is publishing his autobiography this month, entitled Man In The Middle.

He moved to the US to play high school basketball and went on to play for professional teams in America, France, Germany, Greece and England.

Amaechi, who is 6′ 10″ tall, came out of retirement to represent England during the Commonwealth Games in Melbourne last year.

England won a bronze medal for basketball at the Games.

Amaechi currently works as a commentator on NBA games shown on channel Five.

His other main activity is working for the ABC Foundation, which aims to increase participation in physical activity by building affordable, quality facilities and making expert coaches, respected mentors and educators available to all young people.

The charity built its first sports centre in Manchester.