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We Matter: Athletes and Activism

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In interviews and essays, high-profile activist athletes explore the intersection of sports and politics.

$16.95 $12.71

What people are saying…

“Before Kaepernick, there was Etan Thomas.”
New York Times

“In We Matter, Thomas strives to show the influence professional athletes can have when they join the conversation on race, politics and civil rights. Thomas conducted 50 interviews, which included Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Bill Russell, Laila Ali, Michael Bennett and Eric Reid, among many other athletes, as well as journalists, television personalities and family members of unarmed black men who were shot and killed. Thomas also explored his ties with the Wizards and spoke with John Wall, Bradley Beal and current majority team owner Ted Leonsis.”
Washington Post

“Former NBA player Etan Thomas releases the timely and necessary We Matter: Athletes and Activism, in order to add useful, relevant words to the conversation on athletes and their activism.”
The Root

“In his new book, We Matter: Athletes and Activism, Thomas tirelessly interviews a range of people from NBA icons to the families of crime victims to illustrate the importance of athletes using their voice for more than just sports.”
Athletes Quarterly

“Former Marquette University basketball player and 12-time NBA All-Star Dwyane Wade, along with Basketball Hall-of-Famer Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (who played for the Milwaukee Bucks while he was still known as Lew Alcindor) are among more than 50 athletes, coaches, executives and media personalities featured in a timely new book exploring the intersection of sports and politics.”
Isthmus

“Thomas has spent his life examining inequities in America particularly as it relates to race and poverty. He’s spoken out against war, helped Oklahoma prisoners write poetry and rallied against police brutality . . . But, Thomas says he’s not alone: that social issues dominate what athletes talk about behind closed doors.”
Tulsa World

“I applaud Etan Thomas’ We Matter because his voice is adding strength and courage to athletes in regard to speaking up and becoming more involved in the issues of social justice. His support is especially important to other professional athletes because they do have a larger platform with the ability to reach huge audiences.”
Culture Honey

“An accessible collection of interviews and essays addressing racial profiling, the power and relevance of athletes’ voices, gender inequality, and mental health stigmas . . . In appealing and intelligent writing, Thomas encourages fans and athletes to share their voices and inspires thoughtful action through this well-timed and significant collection . . . An excellent resource to spark discussions and motivate positive community expression and involvement.”
Library Journal

“A former NBA player and current activist . . . returns with a collection of dozens of interviews on the subject of race in America—all supporting the efforts of athletes to speak out and up . . . Voices of pain, anger, and hope resound through these pages—and through the reader’s heart.”
Kirkus Reviews

“The honest conversations, published in transcript form and often accompanied by black-and-white photos, serve as a primer on recent police violence cases, a history lesson on the first athletes who stood up for racial justice, an examination of the experience of being young and black in the United States, and an insightful look at how it feels to lose a loved one to tragedy, from contributors such as Jemele Hill, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, and Carmelo Anthony . . . An important read, executed uniquely.”
School Library Journal, STARRED Review

“Thought-provoking and often intensely moving reading.”
Booklist

“This book should be required reading for anyone who wants to understand the voice of the modern athlete.”
Brooklyn Fans

“Etan confronts our collective challenges and reminds us that life is not just a game, but demands a constant struggle for justice.”
—Amy Goodman, Democracy Now!


Description

The latest from Akashic’s Edge of Sports imprint.

Featuring interviews by former NBA player Etan Thomas with over fifty athletes, executives, media figures, and more—and interwoven with essays and critiques by Thomas—We Matter shares the personal tales and opinions of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Bill Russell, Dwyane Wade, Russell Westbrook, Steve Kerr,Oscar Robertson, Mark Cuban, Michael Bennett, Carmelo Anthony, Derrick Rose, Swin Cash, Alonzo Mourning, Chris Webber, Jemele Hill, Anquan Boldin, Jamal Crawford, Juwan Howard, Ray Jackson, Shannon Sharpe, James Blake, John Carlos, Laila Ali, Michael Eric Dyson, Joakim Noah, Eric Reid, Adam Silver, Soledad O’Brien, John Wall, Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf, Bradley Beal, Tamika Catchings, Curtis Conway, Harry Edwards, Chris Hayes, Craig Hodges, Chamique Holdsclaw, Scoop Jackson, Bomani Jones, Shaun King, Jimmy King, Ted Leonsis, Thabo Sefolosha, Ilyasah Shabazz, Torrey Smith, Kenny Smith, Michael Smith, David West, Michael Wilbon, Jahvaris Fulton (brother of Trayvon Martin), Emerald Snipes (daughter of Eric Garner), Allysza Castile (sister of Philando Castile), Valerie Castile (mother of Philando Castile), and Dr. Tiffany Crutcher (sister of Terence Crutcher).

This volume will be an inspiration for many different people: sports junkies; young readers who need words of encouragement from their favorite athletes; parents seeking positive messages for their children; activists who want to hear athletes using their voices to address social justice; and schools that need motivational material for their students.

“It couldn’t have happened without [athletes] . . . People around the world know my brother’s name. I don’t know if a lot of people know this, but in the beginning, the news outlets didn’t want to run the story.”
—Jahvaris Fulton (brother of Trayvon Martin)

“On Facebook someone had reposted the video [of various NBA players wearing I Can’t Breathe shirts] . . . and I thought it was Photoshopped. I didn’t think it was real . . . It was really overwhelming because I felt that my voice is being heard.”
—Emerald Snipes (daughter of Eric Garner)

“When we saw footage of Russell Westbrook speaking out after my brother’s death, and telling the world how wrong it was and that they were going to do whatever our family needs, and that they were going to be there for us, it really touched my family. It meant so much to my father . . .”
—Dr. Tiffany Crutcher (sister of Terence Crutcher)

“It really touched my heart. If I could personally meet each and every one of the WNBA players, I would give them all a hug and tell them individually, ‘Thank you for speaking out and supporting my brother, it was just so brave.’ Some people in the spotlight are afraid to speak out, but they weren’t at all. They used their voices and their outlet and told the entire world that what happened to my brother and to Alton Sterling was wrong . . . I can’t thank them enough.”
—Allysza Castile (sister of Philando Castile)

Included in Publishers Weekly’s Notable African American Titles, 2017-2018.

Included in Publishers Weekly’s African-American Interest Adult Titles, 2017-2018.

Listen to interviews with Etan Thomas at The Brian Lehrer Show (WNYC), WAER 88.3 (Syracuse, NY), on the Life of Dad podcast, on Café Mocha Radio, and on the Nation‘s Edge of Sports podcast

Read interviews and features with Etan Thomas at ESPN’s The UndefeatedSyracuse.com, The Ithacan, Street Roots, The Shadow Leagueand The Cornell Daily Sun

Watch an interview with Etan Thomas on WUCA DC’s Off Script on 9.

Watch an interview with Etan Thomas on MSNBC’s Politics Nation with Al Sharpton:

Watch an interview with Etan Thomas on C-SPAN’s Q&A below:

Watch an interview with Etan Thomas on C-SPAN’s Washington Journal:

Watch an interview with Etan Thomas on WNET Thirteen’s MetroFocus:


Book Details

  • Paperback: 250 pages
  • Published: 3/6/18
  • IBSN: 9781617755910
  • e-IBSN: 9781617756122
  • Hardcover
  • IBSN: 9781617755941

Author

ETAN THOMAS, a former eleven-year NBA player, was born in Harlem and raised in Tulsa, Oklahoma. He has published three books: a collection of poems titled More Than an Athlete, the motivational book Fatherhood: Rising to the Ultimate Challenge, and Voices of the Future, a collection of poems and essays by young writers from around the country on topics such as racism, Trayvon Martin, President Obama, gun violence, and AIDS. Thomas 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 Legacy Award. His writing has appeared in the Washington Post, the Huffington Post, CNN, and ESPN. He can be frequently seen on MSNBC as a special correspondent and he cohosts a weekly local radio show, The Collision, on WPFW in Washington, DC, about the place where sports and politics collide. We Matter: Athletes and Activism is his latest book.

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