Posts Tagged ‘Boston Celtics’

Free Minds Book Club member calls the BRP “some real-life stuff”

May 8, 2015

Below is a testimonial letter that I am proud to share because it shows the Born Ready Project’s potential to help change lives in a positive way.


Free Minds Book Club & Writing Workshop, a non-profit in Washington DC that uses books and creative written expression to empower incarcerated youth at the DC jail, was privileged to have Dave Ungrady, author of the book “Born Ready: The Mixed Legacy of Len Bias” give a presentation on the importance of productive decision making to our April apprentices!

Free Minds apprentices are young men who have gone through all three phases of our program, Book Club, Continuing Support and Re-entry Support.  As part of our book club, they were youth between the ages of 15-17, charged as adults at the DC jail where we visited them twice a week to hold our book club sessions.  While in Continuing Support, we sent the guys books that they requested, our monthly newsletter the “Connect,” letters and birthday cards, and Re-entry Support that helps our released members attain job readiness, community support and educational resources.

Dave visited us and conducted an engaging and informative session incorporating facets of his real life experiences, a video presentation about the life of Len Bias as well as a well prepared power point presentation that kept our apprentices engaged and inquisitive!  One of our apprentices’, 17 year old Leon Epps, said “I really appreciated some of the things that he was teaching us, it was some real life stuff.” 

FreeMinds_with the boys

Dave and apprentices of the Free Minds Book Club after his presentation.

Dave introduced our apprentices to concepts such as the varying degrees of decision making, tools to making good decisions and how the decisions they make impact them and the people in their lives.  One of the main goals of our apprenticeship program is to help our apprentices change their lives by changing their thought process so Dave presentation was a perfect fit! 

Our apprentices greatly benefited from Dave’s presentation, and when we conducted our post apprenticeship evaluation, we asked the apprentices to list the sessions that they enjoyed the most, and more than half of them selected Mr. Ungrady’s session as one of their top choices.  We are very grateful for Dave’s participation and have invited him back for another session during our next apprenticeship starting in June.

Keela Hailes, Program Manager

Free MInds Book Club and Writing Workshop

No. 2 NBA Pick

November 7, 2013

Celtics Draft a Star

After NBA Commissioner David Stern announced Bias as Boston’s pick, the crowd roared. The newest Celtic uncoiled his long, lean frame from his arena seat, walking slowly as he approached the stage, smiling. Someone handed him a Celtics cap. Cameras flashed as he shook Stern’s hand. A couple of minutes later, during his first comments in a television interview, Bias was asked by former NBA star Rick Barry why he wanted to play for the Celtics. “They’re a good team and they got, uh, good, uh, supporting players,” he said sheepishly, stammering a bit as he toyed with the Celtics cap. “I can go up there and sit on the bench and whether I go in and play or not, and I learn a lot from, ah, the players there or learn a lot from playing myself.” Barry asked him if he could accept the role of being a benchwarmer for a while. Bias chuckled and said, “I guess I’m gonna have to.”

Asked where he needed to improve, Bias said, “Well, I think I need to improve more on my ball-handling and my all-around play.” When Barry made some closing comments at the end of the interview, Bias smiled before peering to the side and biting his lip. Later, he said the first thing he wanted to buy was a Mercedes-Benz automobile. As for the Celtics, they felt they already had their prize.

“He’s going to be a star someday, no question about it,” Auerbach said in an interview from Boston. “He gives us a lot of support. He can play some guard, he can play some forward, he can play a power forward, a quick forward. He is the best athlete, in my opinion, in the whole draft, and he’s going to really help this ball club. … He’ll get his playing time. … We’ve had guys sit around for a while. Except in this particular case, he’s gonna play. In fact, he’s ready to play now. Larry Bird said if we drafted this kid, he’d even come to rookie camp. He’s very high on the kid. He’s the guy we wanted, and we got him.” Bias seemed to accept a reserve role as a Celtics rookie. “I’m ready to take the role of a learner now,” he said in the Boston Globe the day of the draft. “I can learn from great players here.”

Bias_cover_pngExcerpted from the book, Born Ready: the Mixed Legacy of Len Bias

Learn about the Born Ready Project that teaches life skills, using Len’s legacy as a teaching tool.

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50 for 50: Len Bias’ Golden Moments #1…Recognizing a Legend

September 30, 2013

Len Bias would have been 50 years-old on November 18.  He was born in Southeast Washington, D.C. and grew to become a University of Maryland star who later died of a cocaine overdose in June 1986, two days after the Boston Celtics made him the number two pick in the NBA draft. Many say Len was as good, if not better, than Michael Jordan.

His death dramatically changed lives forever, and it still has impact today.bias_standnearcar_revised Each day starting  today- September 30 – until Nov. 18, I will provide a different fact that helped shape his Len’s legacy; 50 in total. As we proceed, I would enjoy hearing from you about your most fond memories of Len. Also, pass along thoughts about what you think his NBA career and life would have been had he lived to be 50.

Find out more about Len’s rich legacy from my book, Born Ready: The Mixed Legacy of Len Bias.

Learn about the Born Ready Project that teaches life skills, using Len’s legacy as a teaching tool.

Find out about the Born Ready Hoops Festival  Nov. 22-24, that will honor Len’s legacy as a basketball player.