Etan Thomas has been the personification of “The Activist Athlete.” his entire 11 NBA career. Thomas defies the stereotype of the apolitical athlete, planting his roots in his formidable literary career, passion for mentoring and civic engagement.
Born in Harlem, New York and raised in Tulsa, Oklahoma, Thomas’ childhood was surrounded by books on the civil rights movement, politics and the 1960′s. He was greatly influenced by his mother, Deborah Thomas, a schoolteacher, who instilled in her two sons to think critically and use their platform to make a difference. Etan Thomas has made his mark far beyond the boundaries of his 11 years in the NBA.
His latest work, We Matter “Athletes And Activism” was released March 6th 2018, 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. We Matter was listed as one of the top ten best activism books of all time by Book Authority. And tied for best non-fiction for 2018 by the African-American Literary Awards (AALAS)
In 2005, Thomas released his first book, a collection of poems called More Than An Athlete (Haymarket Books) that set Thomas apart as “this generation’s athlete with a moral conscious and a voice.” In 2012, Thomas released his 2nd book, Fatherhood: Rising To The Ultimate Challenge (Penguin), as a national conversation about fatherhood ensued and The Fatherhood Movement was borne. Thomas continues this conversation holding Town Hall panels through-out the country at prisons, churches, Universities, schools, and various conventions where he continues to inspire, motivate and support generations. In January 2013, he released Voices Of The Future (Penguin), a collection of poems and essays from young writers from around the country on topics such as Racism, Trayvon Martin, President Obama, Gun Violence, and Aids. Thomas utilizes poetry as an expressive form and encourages young people to read, write and develop the skills to express themselves.
Etan Thomas approaches his work fearlessly. Never afraid to voice his opinions, Etan was honored for social justice advocacy as the recipient of the 2010 National Basketball Players Association Community Contribution Award, as well as the 2009 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Foundation, Inc. Legacy Award. Etan jumps at the opportunity to support civic engagement especially for under- resourced populations.
He is a senior writer for basketballnews.com and is the host of The Rematch. He writes for The Guardian and has previously written for The Washington Post, Huffington Post, CNN, ESPN, Hoopshype.com and slamonline. He frequently can be seen on MSNBC as a special correspondent for “hot topics.” He continues to be invited on syndicated radio and co-hosts a weekly local radio show on WPFW 89.3FM, The Collision, where sports and politics collide.