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Boris Diaw just wants to help, y'all. Life has blessed him with so much — an NBA championship, a lucrative multi-year contract, some greatfriends, an appreciation for the finerthings — and he'd like to give back by helping us celebrate the world around us, too.
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First, he inspired us to dance our way to better health. Now, he wants to inspire young people to share his loves of photography, travel and animals by becoming the latest NBA player to pick up the pen and write a children's book.
Written with children's author Kitson Jazynka for National Geographic Kids, Diaw's maiden foray into publishing hits bookshelves this month. "Hoops to Hippos: True Stories of a Basketball Star on Safari" highlights Diaw's lifelong passion for nature photography, with a particular bent toward educating kids about endangered species:
From the publisher's press release:
At age seven, Diaw visited Senegal and, armed with a disposable camera and a sense of adventure, his love of photography and wildlife was born. Since then, Diaw has traveled the globe photographing wildlife in South Africa, Botswana, Tanzania and India. [...] Join Diaw as he escapes from stampeding wildebeests, comes face-to-face with lions, and discovers why you should never come between a hippo and its watery home. Through engaging stories and photos by Diaw, readers will discover a whole new side to this basketball champ.
Once you've escaped from stampeding wildebeests, I guess facing down Gregg Popovich after blowing a defensive assignment isn't quite so scary. (It's still probably not not very much fun, though.)
The 33-year-old Frenchman is just the latest in a long line of NBA players to try their hands at children's literature. Prominent ballers to pick up the pen include Gary Payton, Chris Paul, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Amar'e Stoudemire, Dennis Rodman, Adonal Foyle, Metta World Peace and Shaquille O'Neal. I don't think any of their children's books include stories about being chased by bull elephants, but then, I can't pretend to have read them all.
Here's a sneak peek at "From Hoops to Hippos," featuring a hyena that seems perhaps a bit too eager for a close-up in Boris' camera:
Now that I think of it, that stare — somewhere between "I have no feelings about your presence whatsoever" and "I'm going to eat you and everyone you've ever known" — might have looked kind of familiar to Boris:
Hat-tip to Dan McCarney of the San Antonio Express-News.
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