On May 7, 2008 at 10:00 a.m., I’ll be the featured guest speaker at the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame for their MVP’s of Character Education Series.

Here’s what their website says about this program:

The goal of this program is to offer teachers and students an opportunity to explore the relationship between healthy character development, mature decision-making and academic achievement.

Basketball stars and well-known figures from the community are invited to speak with school groups about their experiences as they relate to the “Most Valuable Pillars” of Character identified below.

  • Enhance students’ understanding of good character by promoting proven traits that will help them make good ethical decisions and lead them on the path to success
  • Inspire youth with stories of basketball celebrities who represent the traits of character that responsible and successful citizens would emulate
  • Educate youth to understand the relationship between self-discipline, athletic achievement, good moral character, and how they impact academic achievement
  • Apply useful life-skills education across a variety of subjects

Hall of FameClaude Johnson presenting at the
Basketball Hall of Fame, in 2006.

Did you know that the Basketball Hall of Fame has an Education Department?

Well, they do. Its stated mission is “to capture the attention and imagination of youth via their love and interest in basketball while providing learning tools and inspirational messages that teach in a fun and active learning environment.”

If you know me, then you know that I’ve openly criticized the Basketball Hall of Fame regarding their selection process and their omissions, particularly those obvious ones from the Black Fives Era.

So, are you wondering how I’ll reconcile this visit with that criticism?

Good question!

Mainly, these are separate issues. This program has to do with educating people, mostly kids.

So I’ll use it as an opportunity to educate about these topics:

  • the Black Fives Era in general
  • some individual pioneer shout outs
  • my opinions about the leading Black Fives Era candidates for enshrinement (maybe someone from the “veterans committee” will overhear this part)
  • what it means to make history now
  • some principles of success that I use every day
  • creating something from nothing
  • my Brand Map as an example

Last time I did this, here’s what one of the parents wrote me afterwards:

I was at the Basketball Hall of Fame this past Wednesday, January 18th with Center School in Longmeadow, MA. I was one of the Moms taking pictures of you with some of the kids.

I wanted to let you know what a great speaker you are and what a powerful message you had for the kids to hear. I wrote down a lot of what you said and have been telling all my friends about passion and all the positive benefits that come from having it. I was really impressed.

I think it is fabulous that you are taking the time to talk to kids about the future with such a positive message. You are a wonderful role model. I look forward to you writing a book.

Keep up the good work!!! Good luck with the company.

So, whatever happened to my book?

Well, I’m happy to say that I just finished a proposal for my first book that is now making the rounds. I’ll let you know how that goes.

Meanwhile, please check out this program if you can, whether you come to my talk, or to one of the others in their impressive lineup of scheduled guest speakers!