WHEN searching for a role model for students to look up to, college bosses hit the heights with former top basketballer John Amaechi.
At a formidable 6ft 9in and tipping the scales at 270lbs, the former NBA star is not easy to ignore.
And thinking big for the future was his message when he spoke to teenagers at Blackpool Sixth Form College.
Since retiring from a glittering international basketball career, the sport legend now focuses on his work as a psychologist and educator, touring schools and colleges.
He wowed 300 students from the Blackpool Old Road college with tales of how his life changed at 17 after being asked to take up basketball.
But making people realise the importance of small decisions, having big plans and knowing yourself well can all make a huge difference in life, he added.
He said: “It’s been great being at Blackpool Sixth Form, I think some students were cynical at first but if I get through to just one or two that’s good enough for me.
“These are such important years for them, they have enough autonomy to potentially make a wrong decision which can affect their lives.
“Coming into colleges and passing my message on is a big part of my legacy as a person. It’s also the most rewarding part of my work.”
The star hit the headlines in 2007 after becoming the first NBA player to speak publicly about being gay.
And making sure people are honest about who they are and careful about the friends they choose is another big part of his message.
During his visit, he also spoke to the Basketball Academy and sports students.
The visit proved an inspirational one according to sport and enrichment officer Steve Legge.
He said: “The students found John’s talk really interesting and shows how important even small decisions can be.”