Fatherhood: Rising to the Ultimate Challenge

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Overview

In Fatherhood, beloved NBA player, poet, children’s advocate, and devoted dad Etan Thomas speaks from his heart on what matters most in his life: being there for his children. As a leading participant in President Obama’s Fatherhood Initiative, Etan has reached out to young men (often young fathers) in the juvenile detention system and in local communities. He knows firsthand the difference having a father in your life every day can make.

Now he brings together a chorus of ...

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Fatherhood: Rising to the Ultimate Challenge

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Overview

In Fatherhood, beloved NBA player, poet, children’s advocate, and devoted dad Etan Thomas speaks from his heart on what matters most in his life: being there for his children. As a leading participant in President Obama’s Fatherhood Initiative, Etan has reached out to young men (often young fathers) in the juvenile detention system and in local communities. He knows firsthand the difference having a father in your life every day can make.

Now he brings together a chorus of voices to weigh in on the importance of being a father in our nation today and to share what they’ve learned from being a father, having a father, or in some cases not having a father around.

With Original Essays and Poems from

Taye Diggs • Kareem Abdul-Jabbar • Malcolm-Jamal Warner • Ice Cube • Howard Dean • Tony Hawk • Isaiah Washington • Yao Ming • Al Sharpton • John King • Lamman Rucker • Derek Fisher • Kevin Durant • Russ Parr • Michael Moore • Chuck D • Malcolm Shabazz • Talem Acey • Will Downing • Chris Paul • Allan Houston • Talib Kweli • Black Ice • Cornel West • Elijah Cummings • Mumia Abu-Jamal • Grant Hill • Coach John Thompson • Roland Martin • Joakim Noah • Arn Tellum • Damian Marley • Abiodune Oyewole • Styles P • Baron Davis • David Aldridge • Stuart Scott • Dave Zirin • Kevin Powell • John Carlos • Derrick Coleman • J. Ivy • Joe Johnson • Al Horford • Pastor John Jenkins • Julian Thomas • Ed Gordon Jr. • Tito Puente Jr. • Billy Hunter • 13 of Nazareth • Messiah Ramkissoon

Through these inspiring personal experiences, Etan and the men he’s gathered together hope to share the message that by standing up and taking an active role as fathers, men not only find their own lives more joyful and fulfilling—they pass on to the next generation an unshakable legacy of love, wisdom, responsibility, and strength.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Thomas, a star in the NBA as a center for the Atlanta Hawks as well as a participant in President Obama’s Fatherhood Initiative, states upfront that he’s “not a fatherhood expert.” But having collected essays offering insights and experiences about fatherhood from a fascinating and diverse range of individuals—including Bill Cosby, John King, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Andre Agassi, and others—Thomas has produced an insightful book that provides “a manual for fathers new and old.” Many of the pieces address the experience of fatherless kids in African-American communities. But from rapper Ice Cube to filmmaker Michael Moore, the book’s message is one of hope. As Moore states, “One of the ‘Big Lies’ that we are told in our society is that there’s something wrong with you if you come from a ‘broken home’ or a home with a single mother.” Thomas also offers a moving tribute to the many single mothers “who are forced to take on the role of the father in the household.” While Thomas’s “Tao of fatherhood” is a wonderful distillation of all the book’s insights—“Be there”— his book also contains a plethora of memorable and eloquent advice for all fathers, such as that from Dr. Cornel West: “To be a great father, you must be a militant for tenderness, an extremist for love, a fanatic for fairness, and, in the larger society, a drum major for justice.” (May)
The Washington Post
This inspirational meditation on fatherhood…offers a lot to chew on, both as a primer for thoughtful fathers and children and as a particularly trenchant entry in the ongoing conversation on parenthood and race. In addition to relating his journey into fatherhood, Thomas has enlisted a cohort of men from the worlds of sports, music and media to add their stories, with the resulting chorus providing a stream of warning, encouragement and guidance.
—Michael Lindgren
From the Publisher
Praise for Fatherhood

“This inspirational meditation on fatherhood from former Washington Wizards forward Etan Thomas offers a lot to chew on, both as a primer for thoughtful fathers and children and as a particularly trenchant entry in the ongoing conversation on parenthood and race…Any book that brings the words of Howard Dean and Yao Ming between the same covers is noteworthy.…A tricky line to walk—balancing street cred with idealism, anger with acceptance—but for the most part [Thomas] pulls it off with aplomb. Fathers of any skin color would do well to emulate him.”—The Washington Post

“An insightful book.”—Publishers Weekly

"Etan Thomas not only has skills on the basketball court but more importantly with words and ideas."—Spike Lee

"I would like to salute Etan Thomas. He is a warrior, doing mighty work."—Cornel West

“[Thomas is] a defender of fatherhood.”—New York Daily News

“Really, really moving.” —Soledad O’Brien, CNN

“Etan extends his reach beyond the NBA to helping youth and families throughout America.”—FOX News

“This book is beneficial for fathers, mentors, and sons, no matter how well or how poorly they’re performing in those roles.”—The Washington Times

“Etan Thomas displays his skills off the court pulling together an intimate collection of powerful voices who open up on ending the pain of fatherlessness, the pride and power of being a father, and the promise of a new generation of strong dads”—Essence

“This inspirational book is a call to action, sharing and emphasizing the importance of being present as fathers.”—Daytona Beach News-Journal

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780451236739
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 5/1/2012
  • Pages: 320
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

Etan Thomas is an NBA veteran, contributor to The Huffington Post, CNN, and ESPN, and a highly regarded poet. 

Nick Chiles is a New York Times bestselling author and a Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist. 

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Table of Contents

Foreword Tony Dungy xi

Introduction xix

Chapter 1 Got to be There: Spending Time with Your Children 1

1 Howard Dean 3

2 Tony Hawk 6

3 Coach John Thompson 11

4 Malcolm Shabazz 15

5 Isaiah Washington 21

Poem Taalam Acey 25

Chapter 2 Happy Feelings: Finding Joy with Your Children 29

1 Chris Paul 34

2 Taye Diggs 41

3 Stuart Scott 45

4 Will Downing 50

Poem J. Ivy 54

Chapter 3 Stronger Than Pride: Showing Love to Your Children 59

1 Derek Fisher 61

2 Talib Kweli 64

3 Grant Hill 67

4 Andre Agassi 72

5 Allan Houston 78

Poem Black Ice 82

Chapter 4 You've Got a Friend: Using Elders to Deliver Honesty and Wisdom to Your Children 87

1 Representative Elijah Cummings 91

2 John Carlos 98

3 Mumia Abu-Jamal 104

Poem Julian Thomas 110

Chapter 5 The Roots of a Tree: Reaching Back into History to Lift Up Your Children 113

1 Tito Puente Jr. 116

2 Joakim Noah 119

3 Damian Marley 125

4 Yao Ming 130

5 Arn Tellem 133

Poem by Abiodune Oyewole of the Last Poets 136

Chapter 6 Sky is the Limit: Helping Children Overcome Fatherlessness 139

1 Ice Cube 142

2 Michael Moore 149

3 Baron Davis 157

4 Kevin Durant 162

Poem Etan Thomas 165

Chapter 7 Don't Believe the Hype: Fighting the Stereotypes that Can Overwhelm your Children 169

1 Chuck D 174

2 Billy Hunter 183

3 David Aldridge 185

4 Dave Zirin 189

5 Roland Martin 193

Poem by 13 of Nazareth 196

Chapter 8 Redemption Song: Overcoming Anger-You Have to Let it Go 201

1 Styles P 205

2 Kevin Powell 208

3 Lamman Rucker 215

4 Derrick Coleman 219

Poem Messiah Ramkissoon 225

Chapter 9 Dear Mama: Helping Single Mothers Shoulder the Burden 227

1 Joe Johnson 230

2 Pastor John Jenkins 233

3 Al Horford 237

4 Reverend Al Sharpton 244

Poem Julian Thomas 250

Chapter 10 Wake Up, Everybody: Examining Bill Cosby's Plea for Responsible Fathers 255

1 Malcolm-Jamal Warner 259

2 John King 265

3 Russ Parr 269

4 Kareem Abdul-Jabbar 272

5 Ed Gordon Jr. 276

Poem Etan Thomas 280

Conclusion Dr. Cornel West 285

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 10, 2012

    Love it!

    This book is important! Every man who is a dad, donor or father figure should read this book. You either learn something or confirm something. Love it!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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