An Elite Journey: The First Task of Leadership

Many parents, teachers, and coaches are looking at the social unrest in our country today asking, “How can I make a difference? How can I use my platform, as a leader, for good? One place we can look – is to our heroes of the past.  Though history doesn’t repeat itself – it often rhymes.  For every famous difference maker like Abraham Lincoln, Frederick Douglass, or Martin Luther King Jr., – there were countless ordinary Americans making small changes for the better.  Whether by example, being a good neighbor, speaking out against injustice or organizing events, each generation is called to live up to America’s promise.  

As an author, coach, and American history teacher, I found myself searching for ways I could challenge the status quo.  After positive feedback from my first leadership novel, I made a conscious effort to dive deeper into issues, including topics such as race, equity, inclusion, social justice, and civic responsibility.  Inspired by Robert F. Kennedy’s words on what it means to lead – “The task of leadership, the first task of concerned people, is not to condemn, castigate, or deplore; it is to search out the reason for disillusion and alienation, the rationale for protest and dissent – perhaps indeed to learn from it” – I went on a leadership journey myself.  

I interviewed a talented, diverse, and inspiring group of leaders including filmmakers, educators, coaches, players, and representatives from all levels of basketball – including high school, college, and the NBA. I wanted to explore race in sports and society in a deeper way. I eventually published, Elite Journey II: The First Task of Leadership, last year and have received positive feedback thus far. Though a sequel, the book stands alone and is a resource for anyone looking to explore issues of race, leadership, and competition, especially with young people.  At the end of each chapter, questions are provided to shape conversation and deepen understanding.

If you are interested in finding out more about the book, please visit my website or amazon.  For teams, clubs, or schools in search of team discounts or donations – please reach out to me directly.  To give an inside look of the story, I provided Chapter 7 in a PDF format.  I hope you enjoy it. 

Michael Massucci

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