Role models of greatness.

Here you will discover the back stories of kings, titans of industry, stellar athletes, giants of the entertainment field, scientists, politicians, artists and heroes – all of them gay or bisexual men. If their lives can serve as role models to young men who have been bullied or taught to think less of themselves for their sexual orientation, all the better. The sexual orientation of those featured here did not stand in the way of their achievements.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Jared Max

Sports radio anchor Jared Max hosts Maxed Out in the Morning, an ESPN morning radio show that originates in the New York City metropolitan area. Last year his show for ESPN New York 97.5 ranked first in New York among men ages 25 to 54 in his time slot, the first time ever for the station. More amazingly, this rating came about after Jared announced his homosexuality on the air a year earlier, during his live broadcast on May 19, 2011. At 5:50 a.m. he said, “Are we ready to have our sports information delivered by someone who is gay? We're going to find out. For the last 16 years, I’ve been living a free life among my close friends and family, and I’ve hidden behind what is a gargantuan-sized secret here in the sports world. I am gay.”

Reactions from fans and sports professionals were overwhelmingly positive, but the memory that stood out is the way his board operator sauntered in and said, “Hey, my old man called – he said congratulations.” For Max, that was everything. “I got the impression that his dad was old-school, so it really meant a lot to hear that,” Jared said. It was quite a week for gays in sports. Within a few days of each other former Villanova basketball player Will Sheridan, Phoenix Suns President Rick Welts and CNN's Don Lemon also came out that week.

Thirty-nine year old Jared, who has been single since November, 2010, made the current Out magazine’s list of 100 Most Eligible Bachelors. He lives in New Jersey, just a few miles from where he grew up in a Jewish household. He came out to his mother when he was 21 years old.

For as long as he can remember, Jared says he knew he wanted to be a sports reporter. As a kid, he would play football alone in his backyard while announcing the plays to an imaginary audience. In high school, he recorded 60-second score reports on his answering machine. Every morning he’d go running out of the house in his underwear to fetch USA Today, read the sports scores and then record the day’s message. He handed out business cards to his classmates announcing “The only answering machine that gives you the latest sports news and reviews.”  It turned into a self-fulfilling prophecy when a real sports phone line caught wind of it and hired him, and Jared Max has been working in the field of sports broadcasting ever since.

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