NBA star Allan Houston's career as a basketball superstar was cut short in 2005 because of injuries. Today, giving back to young people is the name of his game as he works with his charitable foundation to improve the lives of young people in New Orleans, Harlem and across the country. Gayle talks with Allan about his foundation and his hope for future generations.
When Allan left professional basketball, he says it was time for him to rest. "I played so long injured, and as a professional athlete, you know when your body needs time to rest, and that is way I looked at it," he says. Being out of the public eye was an adjustment though, Allan says. "I miss the impact you can have on people," he says. "People tell you how much people enjoy your gift, and you miss being able to share that gift."
While he may no longer be a pro basketball player, Allan is still affecting people—especially young people—through the Allan Houston Foundation. Allan says one of his projects is a five-and-a-half-month business education program that brings 18- to 25-year-olds with entrepreneurial ideas to New York or New Orleans for intense business training. If they can succeed at developing a viable business plan at the end of the course, Allan says the student is given $20,000 in start-up capital. "They go through this, and it is almost like getting an MBA," he says. "They come out of this process saying, 'I'm ready to empower not only myself but my community and my family.'"
Allan, a father of four, also hosts a basketball retreat every year. The goal of the Father Knows Best retreat is to bring fathers and sons together to share a memorable experience and work on building strong, loving relationships. "We are trying to define what a man really is instead of what the world is telling our young men that a man really is," Allan says. While he has big plans for the future of his foundation, Allan says he may someday return to professional basketball as a coach or manager. "I never considered the game being over way down deep in my heart and my spirit," he says.
Printed from Oprah.com on Thursday, December 5, 2013