Recently, Harlem was treated to a book signing of “The Athlete Negro: The Awakening.” The novel was written by legendary hometown hero, ex-NewYork Knickerbocker and NBA champion Dr. Dick Barnett. The event was a segment of “Changing the Game,” a series of programs presented by former NBA basketball player Royal Ivey’s Defending Your Dream and Arts Horizons LeRoy Neiman Art Center, dealing with the off-court pursuits of African-American athletes.

The evening began with reflections on the author from world-renowned poet and spoken word artist Abiodun Oyewole of the original Last Poets. Barnett followed with a few short self-revealing recollections, and the audience viewed a documentary of his athletic and educational accomplishments. Barnett then wove together a futuristic premise and prophetic philosophy of his novel, the story of our athletes coming together to address personal concerns and a system out of control. The evening ended with the book signing, networking and refreshments.

This event was held at the Neiman Center at 2785 Frederick Douglass Blvd., New York, N.Y., as a fundraiser for Defending Your Dream, in collaboration with the Neiman Center and Strategic Destiny.