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Etan Thomas      

NBA Player & Poet

Etan Thomas is more than an athlete. He's been called a "gentle giant," a "rebounder with a cause." Now the world can add published author to that list! With the release of his first collection of poems, Thomas defies the stereotype of the apolitical athlete, and plants his roots in his budding literary career. With the conviction of a Bill Russell and the poetic finesse of a Muhammad Ali, Thomas takes on controversial topics such as the death penalty, the GOP, racism, and abortion.

Born in Harlem and raised in Tulsa, Oklahoma, Thomas's childhood was surrounded by books on the civil rights movement, politics, and the 1960s. He was greatly influenced by his mother, Deborah Thomas, a schoolteacher who traveled with Thomas and his younger brother back home to Harlem every summer, attending plays and poetry readings.

This young, fiery poet approaches his work fearlessly. Described by Hall of Famer Kareem Abdul Jabbar as "the poetic voice of his generation" and by hip-hop legend Chuck D of Public Enemy as "a portal of our future," Etan Thomas has made his mark far beyond the boundaries of a basketball court. Never afraid to voice his opinions, he has been an outspoken pillar in the community. He is a recipient of the 2010 National Basketball Players Association Community Contribution Award and the 2009 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Foundation Inc. Legacy Award, and his body of work includes serving as a surrogate for the Barack Obama 2008 Presidential Campaign. He was also a guest speaker with DNC Chair Governor Howard Dean during the "Register for Change" 50-State Bus Tour Campaign. The author of a collection of poems released in 2005 called More Than an Athlete, his writings have appeared on, the Huffington Post,, and Slam Online.

Thomas graduated from Syracuse University as a two-time Big East defensive player of the year and the school's all-time leader in block shots. Picked by Dallas in the first round of the 2000 NBA Draft, he eventually ended up playing for the Washington Wizards, where he became impressed with the political activism surrounding him. He has been invited to speak at the Congressional Black Caucus and has worked heavily with the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) as a vocal opponent of the death penalty.


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More Than an Athlete: A Conversation with Etan Thomas


NBA's Etan Thomas leads "fatherhood movement" - CBS News

Former NBA center teams up with high-profile dads - athletes, actors, politicians and musicians - who share parenting wisdom.

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