March 1 (UPI) -- He said there is always a truth within a joke, but not many people are laughing about Amar'e Stoudemire's latest comments.
Stoudemire currently plays for Hapoel Jerusalem in the Israeli Basketball Premier League. In a recent interview with Israeli website Walla Sport, he spoke on how he would interact with a gay teammate.
"I'm going to shower across the street, make sure my change of clothes are around the corner," Stoudemire told the website. "And I'm going to drive -- take a different route to the gym."
When asked if he was joking, Stoudemire responded: "I mean, there's always a truth within a joke."
John Amaechi, a psychologist and the CEO of Amaechi Performance Systems, responded to Stoudemire's comments Wednesday. Amaechi became the first NBA player to come out publicly when he acknowledged that he was gay in 2007, after his retirement.
"These are serious times and we need serious people to lead important conversations, not petulant man-children spouting puerile prejudice. There is already one too many of those holding court in the media, and the world is poorer for it," Amaechi posted on Twitter.
Stoudemire, 34, was a six-time All-Star and five-time All-NBA selection during his 14-year NBA career. During his time with the New York Knicks, Stoudemire was fined $50,000 after he used a gay slur in a 2012 Twitter direct message.
"Within the world of sport there are plenty of true role models — on and off the floor — whose words are carefully chosen to uplift and integrate society, not join [President Donald] Trump and his grinning cabal in their 'locker room banter,'" Amaechi said.
"In these tumultuous times, these true role models are the men and women whose voices we need to disseminate to every corner, not a braying jackass making a desperate grab for relevance amongst a constituency destined for extinction," Amaechi said.
"Lastly, could someone please tell this man to stop flattering himself. It's embarrassing."
Amaechi played for the Cleveland Cavaliers, Orlando Magic, and Utah Jazz during a five-year NBA career.