By Art Eddy
Many people know Allan Houston from his NBA playing days with the New York Knicks and Detroit Pistons. Since he retired Allan is still involved in the game he loves. He is the Assistant General Manager for the New York Knicks. He has been an international ambassador for the NBA, spokesperson for the National Fatherhood Initiative, ESPN analyst, and an author.
Still when you ask Allan what he is most proud of he will tell you that it is being a father. Houston, who has seven children takes fatherhood very seriously. Allan started the Legacy Foundation, which has served over 1,500 participants across the country through original programs in fatherhood and entrepreneurship to facilitate individual and collective growth through initiatives that restore a strong family unit, provide economic empowerment through entrepreneurship, encourage education and life skill development, and enhance spiritual growth.
The “Father Knows Best” Basketball Retreat & FISLL Curriculum provides a unique combination of basketball and relationship building activities for fathers and children, and mentors and mentees emphasizing leadership, communication, and the importance of spending quality time together.
Allan was named “Father of the Year” by the National Fatherhood Initiative in 2007, “Social Entrepreneur of the Year” by Tulane University in 2008, and received the President’s Council on Service and Civic Engagement Award from the Obama Administration in 2011.
I had the pleasure to talk with Allan about his foundation, his playing days, his time on Team USA during the 2000 Summer Olympics, and fatherhood.
Art Eddy: Let’s first talk about your foundation. Tell me a bit about the foundation.
Allan Houston: When I started playing with the Knicks a few years into my career my wife and I were doing a lot of community activities. We were contributing to help the NBA and the Knicks. We sat back and talked about what is important to us as a family and what our purpose in life was. We really thought that the family structure had a need to be focused on.
Our kids didn’t ask to be here. They just deserve the best environment possible. During that time we wanted to do more on education, spiritual growth, and restoring the family unit. Around that time my dad started talking about our relationship. We felt that our relationship was special. So we wanted to have a format where fathers could bond with their kids and engage with their kids and create strong families.
So then a basketball retreat grew into a full curriculum that is now adopted all around the country. In New York we will be celebrating our ten year anniversary of that program. It really just started because my wife and I have a passion and a dedication for family. Even Confucius said, “To put the world in order we must put the nation in order. To put the nation in order we must put the family in order.” We truly believe that. Family is so important as we see the breakdown in our society. We are just passionate about it. We have been blessed to have parents and grandparent leave a legacy on both sides to help pass that message along to our children.
Great time w/ my daughters teaming up w @MBIB @BeingGirl & @NYLiberty. Thanks for sharing that true beauty is eternal and from within.. Follow them to learn more!
AE: How can people help out your foundation?
AH: The biggest way Art is for fathers to think about the impact they can make for their family. We ask them to share their story. We have a specific programs. We have a great staff. We have a lot of volunteers. I think the biggest thing that people can do is to help us confirm what they are seeing and what they are experiencing. Whether it is a story or a picture or a video. Just share their stories about the impact of fatherhood and how their fathers made an impact in their life. Just share it.
It can only help us further advance our foundation when we share the story to make a bigger impact. That helps us when we go out and ask contributors to help sponsor us.
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