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Moment #39: ESPN the Magazine hires LZ Granderson as NBA editor

Part of Outsports’ series on our 100 most important moments in gay sports history.

Sports media, 2004. When I first met LZ Granderson he was writing sports for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and opening a gay bar in Atlanta. From our first meeting, Granderson struck me as a smart, personable, soulful guy who was on the verge of something big. That big chance came when he was hired as a freelance writer for ESPN The Magazine in New York City in 2003, "the year LeBron entered the league, we're bonded for life," Granderson jokes.

From that position, Granderson's big personality blossomed. He moved into a position as an NBA editor at the Magazine on Oct. 15, 2004, and eventually made his way to ESPN.com's Page 2. There he made a name for himself, often taking controversial positions like criticizing John Amaechi for waiting until his retirement to come out (Granderson had previously scored an interview with Sheryl Swoopes, who came out while an active player).

With Granderson embedded at ESPN, the company had a go-to guy on gay issues. Instead of turning to sometimes homophobic former players for comments on gay issues, Granderson became a voice of inclusion at a company that openly embraced its gay employees. This year alone Granderson took various opportunities to set the record straight at ESPN on athletes' homophobic actions (Kobe Bryant) and welcome newly out professionals in sports (Rick Welts).

Granderson has since landed a high-profile columnist gig at CNN.com and appears regularly on the network. Amidst all of this he does countless speaking appearances and this weekend will receive the NLGJA's Journalist of the Year Award at their annual convention in Philadelphia.

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