Stand Up and Be Heard!

The stats speak for themselves. Basketball legend Allan Houston’s name will forever hold a place of honor in the NBA record books. His inspiring words also will be part of the memories of the WCSU Class of 2011. Houston delivered the keynote address at the university’s 113th undergraduate commencement ceremony on May 22.

A student-athlete who graduated in 1993 as the all-time leading scorer from the University of Tennessee, Houston was selected 11th overall in the 1993 NBA draft by the Detroit Pistons. He joined the New York Knicks in 1996, where he twice was named an NBA All-Star in 2000 and 2001. Houston’s athleticism is credited with helping the Knicks, then the 8th seed, knock off the top-seeded Miami Heat in game five of the first round of the 1999 Eastern Conference quarterfinals. Houston’s catch of the inbound pass and successful running jump shot in the lane with 0.8 seconds left netted a 78-77 victory for his team and personal notoriety as the architect behind the 50th greatest playoff moment according to NBA.com.

Houston was a member of the USA men’s national basketball team that captured the gold medal at the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney, Australia. In his last healthy season (2002-03), Houston finished as the 10th leading scorer in the league. He was named one of The Sporting News’ “Good Guys in Sports” on four occasions.

Injuries forced Houston off the court in 2005, but not before he amassed records as one of the NBA’s all-time greatest long-range shooters (#11 in three pointers made) and one of the all-time leading scorers in Knicks history (#2 in three pointers, #4 in total points and #8 in scoring average). After a few unsuccessful comeback attempts, Houston was appointed to a management position with the Knicks as assistant general manager. He also has been an international ambassador for the NBA, a spokesperson for the National Fatherhood Initiative and an ESPN analyst.

In addition to the impact he made on the court, Houston has been a leader off the court as well. He created the Legacy Foundation, which focuses on facilitating individual and collective growth through initiatives that restore a strong family unit, provide economic empowerment through entrepreneurship, encourage education and life skill development, and enhance spiritual growth. The organization has served more than 1,500 participants nationwide with programming related to fatherhood and entrepreneurship. Because of his philanthropy, Houston was named 2007 “Father of the Year” by the National Fatherhood Initiative. Tulane University honored him as “Social Entrepreneur of the Year” in 2008 and Houston received the President’s Council on Service and Civic Engagement Award from the Obama Administration last year.

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The Class of 2011 listens eagerly as basketball legend Allan Houston delivers the Commencement Address.