Gay and Lesbian Sports Hall of Fame welcomes 15 new inductees this week

ORLANDO, FL - 2000: John Amaechi #13 of the Orlando Magic shoots against Bryant Reeves #50 of the Vancouver Grizzlies during a game played in 2000 at the TD Waterhouse Center in Orlando, Florida. - Fernando Medina, NBAE via Getty Images

The National Gay and Lesbian Sports Hall of Fame will induct 15 new members this week, including former pro athletes John Amaechi, Billy Bean and Esera Tuaolo, plus current athletes Fallon Fox and Brittney Griner.

The National Gay and Lesbian Sports Hall of Fame will induct 15 new members this week in Chicago, where the Hall of Fame resides. The Hall of Fame is the brainchild of Bill Gubrud and inducted its inaugural class last year.

The 2014 inductees include:

John Amaechi, retired NBA player
Billy Bean, retired MLB player
Mark Bingham, rugby player (Deceased)
Tom Daley, Olympic Medal Winning Diver
Wade Davis, Executive Director of You Can Play and retired NFL player
Fallon Fox, Mixed Martial Artist
Brittney Griner, decorated collegiate athlete, active WNBA player
Mayor George Moscone, Straight Ally, Former Mayor of San Francisco, (Deceased)
Chris Mosier, triathlete and founder of transathlete.com
Nike, corporation
Diana Nyad, endurance swimmer
Jerry Smith, NFL player (Deceased)
Stand Up Foundation, anti-bullying non-profit organization
Gareth Thomas, retired rugby player
Esera Tuaolo, retired NFL player

Various professional sports leagues have sent messages of support for the hall of fame, including a letter from the NFL signed by commissioner Roger Goodell:

We strongly support the Hall of Fame's mission to recognize individuals who enhance athletics for the LGBT community. By honoring these leaders, the Hall of Fame shows how sports are a vehicle for positive change.

MLB commissioner Bud Selig, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman and NBA commissioner Adam Silver also sent letters of support to the hall of fame.

It should be noted that only three women - Fox, Griner and Nyad - are part of the induction class. Last year's inaugural class included five women. Outsports was inducted into the Hall of Fame with the first class in 2013.

The induction of the second class of honorees will be held at the Center on Halsted on July 11th, 2014 with a VIP reception at 5:30 PM. General reception at 6:30 PM. Ceremony starts at 7:30 PM. Price of admission includes hosted bar and hors d'oeuvres. Tickets are $30.

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