Meet BCNY’s Newest Celebrity Ambassador

NBA Veteran & Boys’ Club of New York Alumnus Etan Thomas Becomes BCNY Celebrity Ambassador

Etan Thomas is an NBA veteran, an author, motivational speaker, host of The Rematch, and BCNY alumnus. He’s now added one more title to his list: BCNY Celebrity Ambassador!

Thomas has fond memories attending the Boys’ Club of New York’s Gerry Clubhouse in East Harlem growing up. Earlier this week, he came back to the Gerry to interview fellow NBA veteran John Starks and hung around afterward to talk to our members about the importance of making sound decisions, working hard, having a plan “B,” “C,” and “D,” and staying focused.

“It was such a blessing to be able to come back and talk to the same Boys’ Club I attended every summer growing up and speak to the boys and young men the same way John Starks spoke to me when I was young,” said Thomas.

Thomas, who describes himself as “The Activist Athlete,” continues to build a formidable literary career and is passionate about mentoring and civic engagement.

Born in Harlem, Thomas read widely about the civil rights movement and was greatly influenced by his schoolteacher mom who instilled in him and his brother the significance of critical thinking and using their platform to make a difference in the world. After 11 years in the NBA, Thomas continues to make his mark.

His latest work, We Matter: Athletes and Activism was released in 2018. Currently, Thomas writes for The Guardian and has also penned articles for The Washington Post, Huffington Post, CNN, ESPN, Hoopshype.com, and slamonline. He appears frequently on MSNBC as a special correspondent for “hot topics” and continues to be invited on syndicated radio and co-hosts a weekly local radio show on WPFW 89.3FM, The Collision, “where sports and politics collide.”

“It is an honor for us to be reconnected with Etan Thomas, an outspoken leader committed to social justice and mentoring others,” said Stephen Tosh, BCNY’s CEO and Executive Director. “Etan is an exemplary alumnus and we look forward to the positive impact that his ambassadorship will undoubtedly have on our members.”


Meet BCNY’s first Celebrity Ambassador: Comedian and Television Host Hasan Minhaj

Minhaj, who was recently listed among TIME 100’s most influential people, came to prominence for his work on The Daily Show as its senior correspondent (2014 to 2018). His first stand-up comedy special, Homecoming King, debuted on Netflix in May 2017 and received positive reviews from critics and a Peabody Award in 2018. He left The Daily Show in August 2018 to host the weekly comedy show, Patriot Act with Hasan Minhaj, which debuted on Netflix in October 2018 and “explores the modern cultural and political landscape with depth and sincerity.”

“I’m honored and excited to be a BCNY ambassador,” said Minhaj, who recently toured BCNY’s Gerry Clubhouse in East Harlem and spent time connecting with boys and teens. “I believe getting to know people one-on-one is the best way to connect to your community. Nobody provides a better space like that for young men than the BCNY. Plus, I’m looking for some cool guys to play pickup basketball with.”

 

“I look forward to working with Hasan to help bring increased visibility to our work of empowering boys and young men to become leaders of their own lives,” said Stephen Tosh, BCNY’s Executive Director and CEO. “Hasan’s influential voice continues to inspire others to think more deeply about the world in which we live—and it’s truly an honor to name him a BCNY Celebrity Ambassador.” 


What does it mean to be a BCNY Celebrity Ambassador?

BCNY Celebrity Ambassadors play a significant role in bringing increased visibility to our work to empower boys and young men to become leaders of their own lives. Ambassadors help us educate the public about why youth development programs like the one offered at BCNY are essential. Our vision is clear: all boys are competent academically and emotionally, connected to their communities, rich in character, and confident in their futures.

The commitment for a BCNY Celebrity Ambassador is flexible and varies depending on his or her schedule, interests, and areas of expertise. Ambassadors sometimes re-tweet a BCNY event photo; meet with boys and young men, whether in a music studio or robotics lab or judging a young men’s cooking competition. Others might be featured in a PSA; draft an op-ed; and/or attend a BCNY gala or special event (like sitting on a panel discussion). 

With over 143 years of continuous operation, BCNY has positively influenced the lives of more than one million young men. Now, more than ever, we appreciate the important voices of our Ambassadors, who amplify the issue of why comprehensive programming for boys and young men is key to their healthy growth and development.

Interested in becoming a BCNY Celebrity Ambassador?
Please contact Director of Communications Shonda Smith at 347.505.5416 or by email