Prior to joining ESPN first as a magazine editor and later as a writer, Mr. Granderson was a sports columnist for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. A member of the National Association of Black Journalists, Mr. Granderson was a Columbia University Hechinger Institute Fellow, and broke the Sheryl Swoopes' coming out story, has interviewed many sports greats including Terrell Owens, Dan Marino, Roger Federer, and David Beckham. He ignited an intense national community debate with his op ed piece, "Gay is not the new black" on CNN.com. HRC has identified him as one of the most distinct voices in the LGBT movement, and featured him in a national online conversation about race, sexuality and gender. Challenging journalists, in a recent ESPN piece he demonstrated that Hawaii coach McMackin's slur reveals a larger problem within sports media itself.
Mr. Granderson knows deeply the demands of being out from the initial interview, to making his corporate mark at a media giant on the front edge of change, but dominated by a jock culture and hyper masculinity. In his commentary Mr. Granderson has tackled taboo subjects such as usage of the N-word in the black community, the presence of gays in the locker room, and the truths and lies about reverse racism. Blistering honest and insightful, Mr. Granderson spares no one. Not even himself.
Perhaps the most visible openly gay sports journalist in the nation, Besides breaking the Sheryl Swoopes coming out story in 2005, hed has been at the fore of the gays in sports discussion for much of his 15-year career, ruffling the feathers of liberals and conservatives alike with his matter-of-fact approach to that and other subjects But Mr. Granderson did not grow to become one of the most popular columnists for ESPN by being a one trick pony. The one time Detroit gang member has tackled other pivotal topics such as race, gender and politics. While other sports columnists may focus on how the game is played, Mr. Granderson focuses on who is playing the game, and who is watching them.
He won first place in the opinion writing category for the 2008 Excellence in Journalism awards given by the National Lesbian Gay Journalist Association for his article stemming out of his experiencing anti-gay slurs in New Orleans during NBA All-Star Weekend.
Lecture: Dare You to Move
Through humor and candid personal stories, ESPN columnist and TV personality LZ Granderson shares his journey from poverty, physical abuse and gang culture in Detroit to becoming the most visible openly gay man working in sports today. In his commentary LZ has tackled taboo subjects such as usage of the N-word in the black community, the presence of gays in the locker room, and the truths and lies about reverse racism. He spares no one. Not even himself.
Early LZ @ ESPN below, more recent LZ at both ESPN and CNN, see links on left.
Magic's tolerance teaches valuable lesson for all
The good news, and bad news, on college hoops
Another ex-athlete comes out? Not impressed
A Word with Consequences
Talk to Martina when you're 50
LZ was a keynote speaker at MBLGTACC '09@ Indiana University in Bloomington. the largest LGBTQQIA youth conference in the US, and was touted as the most compelling speaker in the history of the Reaching OUT MBA Conference (ROMBA).
" Amazing! If I could bring one speaker to Virginia Tech again, it would be LZ Granderson! .
" I am very proud and pleased to see LZ Granderson telling his story and changing hearts and minds as a result. As a successful professional in the world of sports media, who happens to be gay and African American, his is a unique and important voice for all to hear.
By speaking about his compelling story, LZ is making a world of difference and living a life of authenticity for all to admire
" ...wonderful speaker. LZ was our keynote speaker at OSU’s Lavender Graduation ceremony on June 13th. He was funny, charming, timely, very easy to work with, funny, and the students fell in love with him…oh, and did I mention he was funny? More importantly, he left the audience with some very important food for thought about coming out in the world, at work, to one’s family and loved ones, and the interconnectedness of all those acts and why they’re important to each of us.
We are very pleased LZ will be returning to the OSU campus for National Coming Out Week to conduct a panel discussion in professional and collegiate sports.
You’ll find his Wikipedia biography here, a partial list of his ESPN essays here, and one fan’s response to what is my all time favorite Granderson essay, here
" LZ reveals the human side of what it means to be gay in sports. His honest and approachable commentary on what it’s like to be gay in sports is incredibly important. LZ has reached unlikely audiences through his work on television, radio, and online, and his voice in addressing homophobia is critically important to helping mainstream America understand that this is an issue impacting a wide array of people, and that they can be allies in achieving basic fairness for lesbian and gay people .