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ALLAN HOUSTON INTERVIEW & ARTICLE ON NEW BLACK HISTORY COLLECTION

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FISLL Black History Collection Interview


Allan Houston’s FISLL brand’s Black History Collection goes beyond the apparel

Allan Houston’s FISLL brand is collaborating with the NBA to drop a Black history collection. A portion of the sale proceeds will be donated to the NBA Foundation. (Photo via FISLL media)

Article By Joshua Heron - jheron2@asu.edu

As fans traverse certain NBA arenas and end up in team stores in the coming weeks, they are bound to come across apparel that includes a Black NBA logo, an Aug. 8, 1963 homage to the March on Washington, the word "DREAM" embroidered, and many more details celebrating Black history.

It is Knicks legend Allan Houston’s FISLL brand’s Black History Collection. FISLL is a social impact brand that embraces five fundamental values: faith, integrity, sacrifice, leadership and

legacy and hopes to apply such principles through fashion, technology, sports, mentorship, and community service in order to equip others to develop traits needed to make an impact.

Therefore, Houston desires for people to internally reflect and meditate on something greater when they put their arms through one of the collection’s hoodies, flight jackets or cardigans.

"All these are small details of a larger representation," Houston said. "It really is about what Dr. King's dream was. It's about character and the symbols on the apparel point back to that. So, when I think about his dream in relation to the product, is that truly our dream? This particular collection is bigger than the moment. As you wear it, think about if the content of your character is living in faith, integrity, sacrifice, leadership, and legacy."

FISLL’s first curriculum in 2011 orbited around Martin Luther King Jr.'s pioneering efforts to attract the world to character rather than color.

"The work of Dr. King and his legacy has benefitted millions of Americans and is clearly being seen through the work and efforts of the Houston family," the curriculum states. "His famous words that, 'one-day people would be judged by the content of their character and not the color of their skin' is evident by what is happening through the lives of this father-son tandem."

Houston drew a parallel between him and his father’s relationship and Dr. King’s dream. Thirteen years later and FISLL’s Black History Collection is the consummation of intentional father-son and mentor-mentee relations rooted in five fundamental values.

The tag resting on the inside of the Black History Collection apparel reads, "When my [Houston] father became the first Black head basketball coach in the SEC at the University of Tennessee, it confirmed my calling to play the game for a bigger purpose. It was continuing a legacy of faith, leadership, and social responsibility."

Houston's father, Allan Wade Houston Sr., was the first Black head basketball coach in the Southeastern Conference, or SEC. Houston Jr. decided to join his father at Tennessee in 1989 after initially committing to Louisville. He played four years for him, becoming Tennessee's all-time leading scorer.

Houston witnessed a consistency between his father's leadership in raising him in the house and how he nurtured his players on and off the court.

"When I was around nine or 10, I was going with him when he hosted basketball camps in different communities," Houston said. "He knew that many young men needed a picture of structure and discipline.

What remained consistent throughout his guidance was that unconditional love. So, when I went with him to recruit players and saw how these players viewed my dad as another father figure, I was like a little brother to those guys. He knew he was raising them and me."

Little did the "little brother" know that he was being exposed to his calling at a young age, decades before the conviction to answer it was placed on his heart, making it easier to say yes to creating and maintaining the social-impact brand FISLL.

Houston's father, Allan Wade Houston Sr., was the first Black head basketball coach in the Southeastern Conference, or SEC. Houston Jr. decided to join his father at Tennessee in 1989 after initially committing to Louisville. He played four years for him, becoming Tennessee's all-time leading scorer.

Houston witnessed a consistency between his father's leadership in raising him in the house and how he nurtured his players on and off the court.

"When I was around nine or 10, I was going with him when he hosted basketball camps in different communities," Houston said. "He knew that many young men needed a picture of structure and discipline. What remained consistent throughout his guidance was that unconditional love. So, when I went with him to recruit players and saw how these players viewed my dad as another father figure, I was like a little brother to those guys. He knew he was raising them and me."

Little did the "little brother" know that he was being exposed to his calling at a young age, decades before the conviction to answer it was placed on his heart, making it easier to say yes to creating and maintaining the social-impact brand FISLL.

 

Allan Houston played four years under his dad at the University of Tennessee from 1989-1993. He admits that he did not get special treatment. (Photo via FISLL media)

He now knew fatherhood extended beyond the household and had a role in mending and mentoring young men. Houston recalls aspects of his relationship with his father and integrates them into FISLL mentorship.

'When you think about FISLL and my dad and I's relationship, it's all about trust," Houston said.

"A lot of young people today don't know who to trust, and they shouldn't because many hold impactful banners without holding up to the standards of it. I saw my dad execute those standards and realized mentoring is really just about me caring enough to try to help."

The holding up of these standards, however, weren’t limited to his father’s side of the family.

His maternal grandfather, William Lee Kean, was the first four-letter man at Howard University. He had a successful 35-year coaching career from the 1920s to the 1950s as the Central High School basketball coach in Kentucky, boasting a 91.1% winning percentage in that span.

Houston wrote about his grandfather in a paper written on May 10, 1993, one month before he was drafted 11th overall by the Detroit Pistons.

"He was at the forefront of the integration effort in athletics [in Kentucky]," Houston said in the paper. "In all these feats, he never failed to display anything less than the noblest of character and demanded the utmost respect…His desire for victory never pressured him, nor did he carry himself like many victory-worshiping coaches. His legislation was more than victories. He built character. No one could measure the service he gave to his boys."

Kean's lifestyle and mindset can be traced back to his father, William Thomas Kean, who was named "Father of the Year" by his church, where he served as custodian.

Some 100-plus years later, William Thomas Kean's exemplary fatherhood is present in his great-grandson.  

As Knicks legend Allan Houston prepared for bed around midnight in his hotel room in Los Angeles during the Knicks' mid-December west coast road trip, his iPhone vibrated. With seven children, a leadership role with the Knicks, and the owner of a social-impact brand preparing to release a Black History Collection apparel to multiple NBA teams, it's a sound that Houston was familiar with.

However, this time, the familiar vibrating sound presented a dynamic many Black homes find themselves unfamiliar with.  

"'You're the best dad I could ever ask for. Love you!'" said Asher, the youngest of Houston's seven children and his second son.  

Houston's eldest son, Allan Wade Houston III, shared in his family's legacy this past year as a graduate transfer at Louisville. After playing 4 seasons and acquiring a degree from Brown University, he joined the Cardinals football team and contributed to their top-25 ranking and trip to the Holiday Bowl 36 years after his father won a state championship at Ballard High School in Louisville in 1988.

Twelve years prior, in 1976, his grandfather became the first Black assistant men's basketball coach at Louisville, a year after leading Louisville Male High School to a state championship. Houston Sr. won two NCAA national championships at Louisville as an assistant coach.

"It was great being back in Louisville and hearing about my grandfather's legacy at the place where he started his coaching career and where my dad was born and made a name for himself," Houston said. "Both were great leaders and men of faith. It's an honor to carry that legacy. I am excited to carry out and carry forward the values of faith, integrity, sacrifice, leadership, and legacy as I enter the next chapter of my life."

Houston trained both sons to realize the same thing his dad taught him: it’s always bigger than the sport.

Tracing Allan Houston's life might always include basketball but will also bring you beyond it. His days playing at Madison Square Garden for the Knicks might be over, but his days of planting seeds in the garden of FISLL are just now starting.  

The fruit is young men who are learning what it looks like to possess self-control and be a model of good work through honest teaching, dignity, and sound speech.

Myles Dawson is a junior marketing major at Howard University, where he serves as a FISLL campus ambassador. Houston has mentored Dawson over the past few years.

“Mr. Houston has been a mentor and guide for me in many facets of my life,” Dawson said. “He’s been a huge inspiration spiritually, in the fashion industry, sports, and everything he puts his hands on. Because of FISLL I am constantly thinking about how I can make an impact in the spaces I am in. I am in photography and now when I take pictures, I am thinking, ‘what about the story I am telling with these pictures will be impactful?’ and FISLL introduced me to this mindset.”

Allan Wade Houston Jr.’s legacy is rooted in helping young men mature, and the FISLL Black History Collection ensures the generational impact’s perpetuity.

"Black history is not only about the past but about what we need moving forward, and that's what FISLL represents," Houston said. "We are in a world where everyone is a brand, and I want that to work for our young people for the good. When a young person is willing to step up, go against the grain, and stand out, it's inspiring because it's not easy."

"That's why the Black History Collection is crucial," Houston said. "I wanted to attach values to apparel, something that means something to the culture and makes young people question who they really are and what value they can bring to the world. These values were here way before me, and they will be here way after, and that brings me hope for this younger generation. It's about who will grab onto them and use them."

Joshua Heron is a graduate student at Arizona State University in the sports journalism program.

 

Edited by William Hill- Sports journalism professor at Arizona State University

FISLL Black History Collection Interview


Allan Houston’s FISLL brand’s Black History Collection goes beyond the apparel

Article By Joshua Heron - jheron2@asu.edu

As fans traverse certain NBA arenas and end up in team stores in the coming weeks, they are bound to come across apparel that includes a Black NBA logo, an Aug. 8, 1963 homage to the March on Washington, the word "DREAM" embroidered, and many more details celebrating Black history.

It is Knicks legend Allan Houston’s FISLL brand’s Black History Collection. FISLL is a social impact brand that embraces five fundamental values: faith, integrity, sacrifice, leadership and

legacy and hopes to apply such principles through fashion, technology, sports, mentorship, and community service in order to equip others to develop traits needed to make an impact.

Therefore, Houston desires for people to internally reflect and meditate on something greater when they put their arms through one of the collection’s hoodies, flight jackets or cardigans.

"All these are small details of a larger representation," Houston said. "It really is about what Dr. King's dream was. It's about character and the symbols on the apparel point back to that. So, when I think about his dream in relation to the product, is that truly our dream? This particular collection is bigger than the moment. As you wear it, think about if the content of your character is living in faith, integrity, sacrifice, leadership, and legacy."

FISLL’s first curriculum in 2011 orbited around Martin Luther King Jr.'s pioneering efforts to attract the world to character rather than color.

"The work of Dr. King and his legacy has benefitted millions of Americans and is clearly being seen through the work and efforts of the Houston family," the curriculum states. "His famous words that, 'one-day people would be judged by the content of their character and not the color of their skin' is evident by what is happening through the lives of this father-son tandem."

Houston drew a parallel between him and his father’s relationship and Dr. King’s dream. Thirteen years later and FISLL’s Black History Collection is the consummation of intentional father-son and mentor-mentee relations rooted in five fundamental values.

The tag resting on the inside of the Black History Collection apparel reads, "When my [Houston] father became the first Black head basketball coach in the SEC at the University of Tennessee, it confirmed my calling to play the game for a bigger purpose. It was continuing a legacy of faith, leadership, and social responsibility."

 

Houston's father, Allan Wade Houston Sr., was the first Black head basketball coach in the Southeastern Conference, or SEC. Houston Jr. decided to join his father at Tennessee in 1989 after initially committing to Louisville. He played four years for him, becoming Tennessee's all-time leading scorer.

Houston witnessed a consistency between his father's leadership in raising him in the house and how he nurtured his players on and off the court.

"When I was around nine or 10, I was going with him when he hosted basketball camps in different communities," Houston said. "He knew that many young men needed a picture of structure and discipline.

What remained consistent throughout his guidance was that unconditional love. So, when I went with him to recruit players and saw how these players viewed my dad as another father figure, I was like a little brother to those guys. He knew he was raising them and me."

Little did the "little brother" know that he was being exposed to his calling at a young age, decades before the conviction to answer it was placed on his heart, making it easier to say yes to creating and maintaining the social-impact brand FISLL.

He now knew fatherhood extended beyond the household and had a role in mending and mentoring young men. Houston recalls aspects of his relationship with his father and integrates them into FISLL mentorship.

'When you think about FISLL and my dad and I's relationship, it's all about trust," Houston said.

"A lot of young people today don't know who to trust, and they shouldn't because many hold impactful banners without holding up to the standards of it. I saw my dad execute those standards and realized mentoring is really just about me caring enough to try to help."

 

The holding up of these standards, however, weren’t limited to his father’s side of the family.

His maternal grandfather, William Lee Kean, was the first four-letter man at Howard University. He had a successful 35-year coaching career from the 1920s to the 1950s as the Central High School basketball coach in Kentucky, boasting a 91.1% winning percentage in that span.

Houston wrote about his grandfather in a paper written on May 10, 1993, one month before he was drafted 11th overall by the Detroit Pistons.

 

"He was at the forefront of the integration effort in athletics [in Kentucky]," Houston said in the paper. "In all these feats, he never failed to display anything less than the noblest of character and demanded the utmost respect…His desire for victory never pressured him, nor did he carry himself like many victory-worshiping coaches. His legislation was more than victories. He built character. No one could measure the service he gave to his boys."

Kean's lifestyle and mindset can be traced back to his father, William Thomas Kean, who was named "Father of the Year" by his church, where he served as custodian.

Some 100-plus years later, William Thomas Kean's exemplary fatherhood is present in his great-grandson.  

As Knicks legend Allan Houston prepared for bed around midnight in his hotel room in Los Angeles during the Knicks' mid-December west coast road trip, his iPhone vibrated. With seven children, a leadership role with the Knicks, and the owner of a social-impact brand preparing to release a Black History Collection apparel to multiple NBA teams, it's a sound that Houston was familiar with.

However, this time, the familiar vibrating sound presented a dynamic many Black homes find themselves unfamiliar with.  

"'You're the best dad I could ever ask for. Love you!'" said Asher, the youngest of Houston's seven children and his second son.  

Houston's eldest son, Allan Wade Houston III, shared in his family's legacy this past year as a graduate transfer at Louisville. After playing 4 seasons and acquiring a degree from Brown University, he joined the Cardinals football team and contributed to their top-25 ranking and trip to the Holiday Bowl 36 years after his father won a state championship at Ballard High School in Louisville in 1988.

Twelve years prior, in 1976, his grandfather became the first Black assistant men's basketball coach at Louisville, a year after leading Louisville Male High School to a state championship. Houston Sr. won two NCAA national championships at Louisville as an assistant coach.

"It was great being back in Louisville and hearing about my grandfather's legacy at the place where he started his coaching career and where my dad was born and made a name for himself," Houston said. "Both were great leaders and men of faith. It's an honor to carry that legacy. I am excited to carry out and carry forward the values of faith, integrity, sacrifice, leadership, and legacy as I enter the next chapter of my life."

 

Houston trained both sons to realize the same thing his dad taught him: it’s always bigger than the sport.

Tracing Allan Houston's life might always include basketball but will also bring you beyond it. His days playing at Madison Square Garden for the Knicks might be over, but his days of planting seeds in the garden of FISLL are just now starting.  

The fruit is young men who are learning what it looks like to possess self-control and be a model of good work through honest teaching, dignity, and sound speech.

Myles Dawson is a junior marketing major at Howard University, where he serves as a FISLL campus ambassador. Houston has mentored Dawson over the past few years.

 

“Mr. Houston has been a mentor and guide for me in many facets of my life,” Dawson said. “He’s been a huge inspiration spiritually, in the fashion industry, sports, and everything he puts his hands on. Because of FISLL I am constantly thinking about how I can make an impact in the spaces I am in. I am in photography and now when I take pictures, I am thinking, ‘what about the story I am telling with these pictures will be impactful?’ and FISLL introduced me to this mindset.”

Allan Wade Houston Jr.’s legacy is rooted in helping young men mature, and the FISLL Black History Collection ensures the generational impact’s perpetuity.

"Black history is not only about the past but about what we need moving forward, and that's what FISLL represents," Houston said. "We are in a world where everyone is a brand, and I want that to work for our young people for the good. When a young person is willing to step up, go against the grain, and stand out, it's inspiring because it's not easy."

"That's why the Black History Collection is crucial," Houston said. "I wanted to attach values to apparel, something that means something to the culture and makes young people question who they really are and what value they can bring to the world. These values were here way before me, and they will be here way after, and that brings me hope for this younger generation. It's about who will grab onto them and use them."

Joshua Heron is a graduate student at Arizona State University in the sports journalism program.

 

Edited by William Hill- Sports journalism professor at Arizona State University

 

BLACK HISTORY COLLECTION