I hope this article finds you rested, energized, and ready for another basketball season. I just completed year six of the Michigan Elite 25 basketball camp as the educational and leadership coach. I could not be more impressed with, not only the talented players in the state of Michigan, but also the remarkable high school basketball coaches who worked the camp. The high quality of character in these coaches is striking. They not only place high demands on the court, but are exemplar role models off the court as well.
One of our guest speakers was former NBA coach Stan Van Gundy. He was engaging, funny, thoughtful, and challenged the camp, both players and coaches, to use their talents (their platform) to be more than great players- to be a leader. He went on to speak about important issues such as inclusion, justice, civic duty, and what responsible citizenship looks like. Specifically, he challenged the camp to take care of their schools, to not let ANY student in the school they attend sit alone during lunch. That as talented athletes – they have the leverage to make a difference – possibly more than anyone else.
We have other examples of NBA coaches speaking out on social concerns. Coaches like Steve Kerr, Gregg Popovich, and Doc Rivers – all use their position to positively impact the world around them. Moreover, the NBA players also are difference makers in their communities. Most notably, LeBron James, building and sponsoring a school in his community to help young people reach their dreams.
Now is a great time of year to reflect on how we (as coaches and educators) are using our influence to encourage our athletes to be difference makers off the court. What an inspiring initiative – to take Coach Van Gundy’s challenge and make sure that nobody sits alone. That in the school we attend – everyone has the feeling – “We Belong Together”.
Hoopcoach.org has been a great friend to coaches, and allowed me to introduce my first book, An Elite Journey: A Young Man’s Leadership Story. Thank you to all the coaches who have read the book, used it as a team read, or are using it in their classroom as a leadership study.
It is with great excitement that I announce the launch of my second book An Elite Journey II: The First Task of Leadership. We are proud that we sold over 100 books on the first day of the launch. Elite Journey II (the sequel) continues the leadership journey of the main character, CJ Harding. The title is taken from one of my favorite quotes from Robert Kennedy: “The first 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 interviewed many coaches, educational leaders, and athletes from professional, college, and high school levels. Not only does the story contain the challenges of being a good teammate, the recruiting process, and stretching beyond one’s comfort zone, but it also dives into social issues that I believe coaches care about deeply – inclusion, social justice, empathy, patriotism – to list a few.
I am hoping you might take advantage of the book launch discount – offering books for just $10 – plus tax and shipping. You can also purchase my first Elite Journey book for $10 as well. Discounts for both both books will run through Labor Day Weekend and Elite Journey II will be available on Amazon in September. You can purchase either copy now through my website.
Like my first book, this can be more than a casual read for coaches or athletes – with questions at the end of each chapter, it is ideal for a team read, book club, a leadership class, or any sports related classes. Check out what people are saying about my new book here!
For larger orders – please contact me and ask about team discounts. Thanks in advance for your support and please share this article with anyone you feel might be interested. If I can ever do anything for you or your team, do not hesitate to contact me.
Michael Massucci [email protected]