LZ Granderson is a man of many talents: a father, a partner, a hard worker.
Through all of these, and as an openly gay, black male, a he continually struggled with the fight against discrimination to find his own success.
Granderson grew up in Detroit, Michigan in poverty. He was not expected to graduate high school, let alone college. In a home with many brothers and sisters and an abusive father, Granderson used sports as an escape.
He would read stats cover to cover.
To escape from the harsh realities of his home life, Granderson turned to popular NBA players like Michael Jordan, Hakeem Olajuwon and Larry Bird. Soon enough, he was memorizing everything he read. By reading the basketball stats encyclopedia, Granderson not only find a new passion for sports but also realized there was more to life than the four corners of his home.
Being the first one in his family to graduate college, Granderson went on to receive a college degree at Western Michigan University. He took his love of sports and passion for writing and moved around perusing his career — eventually settling in with a wife, a baby boy and a job at CNN and ESPN.
Granderson fought very hard with being a Black man in journalism on the reporting and not playing side of sports. Out of all of ESPN’s writers, there is only a hand full of Black men and even fewer Black women represented. It was a struggle for him, but Granderson worked hard, conducted in-depth research and let his faith in God encourage him to keep pushing.
Not only was Granderson struggling with the hard times of being diverse, he was also hiding a bigger secret, that lead him to divorce and temporary loss of living with his son. Granderson was hiding the fact that he was gay.
Granderson now adds to his resume speaking nation-wide
Granderson now adds to his resume speaking nation-wide on behalf of being an openly gay black male in the sports community. There have been many roadblocks in his way, but none have stopped him from pushing the boundaries of diversity.
What a wonderful tribute to a man and his journey, so thoughtfully told by Anna Houden.
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