News / USA

Former Basketball Star Inspires Inner City Youths in Los Angeles

Brian Taylor in the classroom
Brian Taylor in the classroom
TEXT SIZE - +
Mike O'Sullivan

Former sports star Brian Taylor has taken a message of hard work that he learned on the basketball court to the inner city classroom.  In this week's installment of Making a Difference we introduce you to Taylor, who was a top basketball player at Princeton University, and he later played professionally.  He is now an administrator with a group of rigorous schools for minority students in Los Angeles.

Brian Taylor tells his students that athletics and study are two sides of the same coin.  He says he learned playing basketball at Princeton University that both take hard work and perseverance.

Taylor was Ivy League Rookie of the Year in 1971 and Rookie of the Year for the American Basketball Association two years later.  He helped lead the ABA's New York Nets to two league championships, and later played for the San Diego Clippers and the Kansas City Kings, and the Denver Nuggets of the National Basketball Association.

After 10 years in professional sports, he returned to Princeton to finish his degree, a move, he says, that later influenced a career decision.

"I said, 'What can I do to really distinguish myself and something that my family would respect me for?'  And then I said, 'It's a no brainer.  I have to get involved in education,'" he explained.

Taylor worked in Los Angeles as an administrator and basketball coach at an exclusive private school.  But he thought he could make a difference in the inner city, where he says minority students often drop out and waste their talent.

The graduation rate for schools in many big American cities, including Los Angeles, is less than 50 percent.  When Taylor's colleague Michael Piscal founded the Inner City Education Foundation, or ICEF in 1994, Taylor joined him.  He says students value sports, so he has taken their focus on winning and applied it to academics.  Today, ICEF runs View Park Prep and 14 other rigorous college preparatory schools.

Students work as hard in class as they do on the basketball court, and Taylor says they are succeeding.

View Park Prep test scores are among the highest in the state for African American students.  And Taylor says students are finishing school and graduating. "We're very proud that of our first three graduating classes, 100 percent of our kids have not only graduated from View Park Prep, but also have enrolled in top colleges and universities in the United States," he said.

View Park student Sidney Labat says she likes science as well as sports. "I want to go to college and play basketball," she says,"I want to be a doctor."

Her friend, Danielle Pruitt, wants to combine sports with veterinary medicine. "Hopefully, I can play basketball and be a vet at the same time because I love animals," she said.

Taylor says sports and study together build character.  He is involved in a program for coaches who teach adolescent boys to respect young women.  The program is called Coaching Boys into Men.  Taylor says it is another example of how sports can be used to teach bigger lessons.  And he says his schools adhere to high standards for personal conduct.

Taylor says he wants to see this part of inner city Los Angeles harness unused talent and build a core of trained professional workers.

"And hopefully, I'll be able to come back when I'm old and on my cane to see all of the professional people - the doctors, the lawyers, the principals, the teachers.  And that, I think, is where my legacy will lie," he said.

You May Like

Algerians Vote in Presidential Election

There were few media reports of protests and clashes around the country, but so far no significant violence More

Sharks More Evolved than Previously Thought

The discovery could “profoundly affect our understanding of evolutionary history” More

Pakistan Military Asked to Protect Polio Workers

Request comes as authorities say a Taliban ban on vaccinations in 2012 and deadly attacks on anti-polio teams have prevented thousands of children from getting inoculated More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Google Buys Drone Companyi
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X
George Putic
April 15, 2014
In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Ray Bonneville Sings the Blues and More on New CD

Singer/songwriter Ray Bonneville has released a new CD called “Easy Gone” with music that reflects his musical and personal journey from French-speaking Canada to his current home in Austin,Texas. The eclectic artist’s fan base extends from Texas to various parts of North America and Europe. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin.
Video

Video Millions Labor in Pakistan's Informal Economy

The World Bank says that in Pakistan, roughly 70 percent work in the so-called informal sector, a part of the economy that is unregulated and untaxed. VOA's Sharon Behn reports from Islamabad on how the informal sector impact's the Pakistani economy.
Video

Video Passover Celebrates Liberation from Bondage

Jewish people around the world are celebrating Passover, a commemoration of their liberation from slavery in Egypt more than 3,300 years ago. According to scripture, God helped the Jews, led by Moses, escape bondage in Egypt and cross the Red Sea into the desert. Zlatica Hoke reports that the story of the Jewish Exodus resonates with other people trying to escape slave-like conditions.
Video

Video Police Pursue Hate Crime Charges Against Kansas Shooting Suspect

Prosecutors are sifting through the evidence in the wake of Sunday’s shootings in a suburb of Kansas City, Missouri that left three people dead. A suspect in the shootings taken into custody is a white supremacist. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, he was well-known to law enforcement agencies and human rights groups alike.
Video

Video In Eastern Ukraine, Pro-unity Activists Emerge from Shadows

Amid the pro-Russian uprisings in eastern Ukraine, there is a large body of activists who support Ukrainian unity and reject Russian intervention. Their activities have remained largely underground, but they are preparing to take on their pro-Moscow opponents, as Henry Ridgwell reports from the eastern city of Donetsk.
Video

Video Basket Maker’s Skills Have World Reach

A prestigious craft show in the U.S. capital offers one-of-a-kind creations by more than 120 artists working in a variety of media. As VOA’s Julie Taboh reports from Washington, one artist lucky enough to be selected says sharing her skills with women overseas is just as significant.
Video

Video UN Report Urges Speedier Action to Avoid Climate Disaster

A new United Nations report says the world must switch from fossil fuels to cleaner energy sources to control the effects of climate change. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released the report (Sunday) following a meeting of scientists and government representatives in Berlin. The comprehensive review follows two recent IPCC reports that detail the certainty of climate change, its impacts and in this most recent report what to do about it. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble has the details.
AppleAndroid