Etan Thomas has amassed an amazing collection of interviews intertwined with the heartfelt commentary of his own to create a masterpiece. You’ll read the voices of athletes, activists, media personalities, scholars, and the family of victims of police brutality.
These voices include Kareem Abdul Jabbar, Bill Russell, D Wade, Russell Westbrook, Steve Kerr, Oscar Robertson, Mark Cuban, Michael Bennett, Carmelo Anthony, Derrick Rose, Swin Cash, Alonzo Mourning, Chris Webber, Michael Bennett, Jamal Crawfor, The Fab Five’s Chris Webber, Juwan Howard, Ray Jackson, and Jimmy King, John Carlos, Laila Ali, Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf, Bradley Beal, Tamika Catchings, Curtis Conway, Laila Ali, Harry Edwards, Chris Hayes, Craig Hodges, Chamique Holdsclaw, ESPN’s Scoop Jackson, Bomani Jones, Michael Smith, Michael Wilbon and Jemele Hill, Shaun King, Ted Leonsis, Thabo Sefolosha, James Blake Torrey Smith, Eric Reid, Shannon Sharpe, Anquan Boldin, Ilyasah Shabazz, Kenny Smith, David West, Jahvaris Fulton (brother of Trayvon Martin) Emerald Snipes (daughter of Eric Garner) Alysza Castille (sister of Philando Castille) Valerie Castille (mother of Philando Castille) and Tiffany Crutcher (sister of Terence Crutcher)
Today’s athletes have delves into politics, current events, presidential elections, Black Lives Matter, women’s rights, murders at the hands of the police, mass incarceration, and the list goes on and on. We Matter highlights and discusses this new wave of athlete activism; dispels the myth that current athletes are not connected and affected by what goes on not only within the confines of their own communities, but across society as a whole; gives credit and pays homage to the athletes of yesteryear who have paved the way for the Colin Kaepernicks and Lebron James’s of the world to be as vocal as they are today; and encourages athletes of the future to continue to use their voice to bring about change
Over the past decade, we have witnessed an unprecedented number of athletes across all sports using their positions, their platforms, their celebrity and the power of their voices for change. Athletes have an unprecedented ability to influence fashion, pop culture, and politics with their actions. It is refreshing to see many acting on their convictions. Muhammad Ali once said,”I don’t have to be who you want me to be. I’m free to be who I want.”
Something remarkable occurs when a book creates grassroots support and excitement. Not only does the book sell, but it begins to insert itself into everyday conversations, to start changing the way that people think or behave. Books like Rhonda Byrne’s The Secret and Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man by Steve Harvey and Denene Millner became publishing phenomena because readers couldn’t wait to share them and their ideas with friends, family members, work colleagues. The pass-around rates of these books were astonishing, leading to sales in the millions. We believe that the book Fatherhood by NBA veteran Etan Thomas will be ideally positioned to ignite an equally exciting grassroots, word-of-mouth campaign.
Thomas is a published poet and a veteran of 10 years in the NBA with teams in Washington, D.C., and Oklahoma City. But what makes Thomas such a forceful and compelling presence is his work off the basketball court. He has been tireless in his work with young males, delving into prisons and juvenile detention centers all over the Washington, D.C., area and in Oklahoma, trying to connect with young people, talking to them about their lives and getting them to change their paths. Because of his efforts, Etan was asked by the White House to join President Obama’s Responsible Fatherhood and Healthy Families Task Force, which has established an ambitious platform to help Americans become more aware of the crucial impact of fathers in children’s lives and to create programs and legislation to help fathers more easily do their jobs.
With this wind at his back and his incredible drive and commitment borne out of his own life experiences, Etan is passionate about grabbing the chance to make a strong statement on fatherhood. He wants young men without fathers in their homes to understand that it is possible for them to overcome the barriers and debilitating anger that fatherlessness often breeds. And he especially wants fathers to realize the urgency and importance of their presence.
The thing that will separate Fatherhood from other books on this topic is the astounding amount of support that Etan already has elicited. The National Basketball Association, the NBA Players Association, the Boys and Girls Clubs of America, George Soros’s Open Society Institute, Athletes For Hope, the Center for Urban Families, and even the White House have pledged to push Etan’s book, either through purchasing bulk copies and giving them away or hosting well-publicized events in cities around the country. Their efforts are sure to generate the grassroots support that leads to even more book sales.
While much of Etan’s work has been with young black males, his message is universal, bridging ethnic lines, reaching out to males in settings ranging from the inner city to rural back roads. Etan knows that the pain of fatherlessness knows no income or educational bounds, it is indiscriminate in seeking out helpless victims. This is a topic that has propelled Etan from a young age, when he first realized that the world expected failure from him because his parents were divorced. He was determined to prove that he could be successful, even if he was raised in a single-parent home. Though Etan’s father lived half a country away from him when he was growing up, his father managed to remain a strong presence in his life. So Etan’s situation wasn’t as desperate as many of his peers, who harbored a deep, visceral anger that throbbed just below the surface. Still, Etan understood the hurt, the loneliness, the longing. When he reaches out to men in Fatherhood, he is urgently trying to save future generations of young men from that painful fate. And it is this forceful, compelling voice that will propel this book to become a hot item, to make readers feel like they have to pass it along, to tell their friends, to make their husbands read it.
In addition to Etan’s voice and vision, the book also has the benefit of many other strong voices, prominent men who for the first time have written powerfully about the pain of their childhoods or the bliss of fatherhood. Never before has such a diverse and appealing collection of men been gathered together to talk about fatherhood. From Governor Howard Dean to hip hop pioneer Chuck D, from award-winning actor Isaiah Washington to skateboard legend Tony Hawk, from NBA hall of famer Kareem Abdul-Jabbar to BET’s Ed Gordan, from the 2010 NBA scoring champion Kevin Durant to legendary Coach John Thompson just to name a few. These men represent a stunning array of accomplishment in American society—and an arresting compilation of heart-rending stories. No matter your race, your upbringing, your education level, your income, you will not be able to resist the wisdom and the messages about life, love and fathers that will be contained in this collection.
VOICES OF THE FUTURE
Etan Thomas returns with a new book of poems. Voices Of The Future is a unique blend of poetry and essays from today's youth. Thomas beings each chapter with a selection of his own with the voices of various young people following. Each chapter is broken down into topics such as police brutality, the war in Iraq, HIV, and religion. Thomas challenges young people to express their opinions on these subjects to make for a beautiful collection. The book includes an audio cd of Etan reciting various pieces to beats produced by Darryl Bright and Universal.
MORE THAN AN ATHLETE
With the conviction of a Bill Russell, and the poetic finesse of Muhammad Ali, Thomas takes on controversial topics such as The Death Penalty, the GOP, racism and abortion. More Than an Athlete is a statement about our generation not being confined to a box, a definition or a label.