Education, Health, and Basketball

a basketball falling through the hoop

Guest post by David L. Nash, NLM’s Education and Outreach Liaison.

A few weeks ago, in observance of African American History Month, five former Harlem Globetrotters spoke at a program in Silver Spring, Maryland associated with a screening of the documentary “The Game Changers: How the Harlem Globetrotters Battled Racism.”

Following the short documentary and a brief ball-handling demonstration, we sat down to discuss our current careers and how we each got to where we are.

Those participating were:

  • David Naves of Bowie, Maryland, currently an engineer at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center;
  • Bobby Hunter from Harlem, New York, a businessman and fundraiser for charitable events, cancer awareness, and community basketball;
  • Larry Rivers from Atlanta, Georgia, who directs an organization that provides clothing, housing, career opportunities, and other services to temporarily disadvantaged people in the greater Atlanta area;
  • Charles Smith of Baltimore, Maryland, the president of a non-profit that provides a haven for urban youth to learn and enjoy sports; and
  • me, David L. Nash, NLM’s Education and Outreach Liaison.
David Nash slam dunks as a Harlem Globetrotter in the early 1970s
David Nash in action as a Harlem Globetrotter.

As we each shared our journeys from basketball to the boardroom, we focused on messages of health and education, driving home the idea that education is the key that unlocks the door to whatever you want to be.

I spoke about my experiences as a colon cancer survivor, emphasizing the need for early screening and regular doctor’s visits. And I noted the importance of family history as a risk factor for colon cancer.

I also gave out copies of NIH Medline Plus magazine featuring such health topics as cancer, diabetes, and asthma.

The crowd numbered well over 600 people, about double what we expected, with many of the adults bringing along their children and grandchildren. They were receptive and attentive.

Those in attendance appreciated the focus on education and wellness, and I enjoyed working with people of color to improve their understanding of important health information.

casual headshot of David NashDavid L. Nash serves as the Education and Outreach Liaison at the National Library of Medicine. After finishing his collegiate basketball career at the University of Kansas, he was drafted by the Chicago Bulls in the 1969 NBA Draft and played with the Harlem Globetrotters from 1970-72. He has worked at NLM since 1990.

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