Former NBA center Adonal Foyle has an opinion on many topics, and not just about basketball.
Sure, he was one of the NBA’s best defensive centers during his 13-year career. But as a staunch community activist, a current community ambassador for the defending champion Golden State Warriors, an author, poet, and a former executive for the NBA’s Player Association, Foyle has said, seen, and done many things over the course of his post-NBA life.
The well-traveled Foyle was in the New York area recently, promoting literacy to school-aged children, via a book he published in 2013 called “Too Tall Foyle.” He was also bestowed the Rose Logan Volunteer Services Award, through Astor Services for Children and Families – an honor he said he cherished.
His visits and readings were part of the “Read Ahead” program. And for the Vincentian-American, he’s as proud – if not prouder -- of his off-court work and post-playing travails as anything he ever did at Colgate and as a professional athlete.
Metro had a chance to chop it up with one of the NBA’s proudest dignitaries, as he discussed his role with the Warriors, their quest for a repeat, and his ties to former Knicks legend Patrick Ewing – who’s still on his never-ending journey to be an NBA head coach.
Metro: What were you doing in NYC?
Adonal Foyle: I received an award for children’s service and gave speeches about the importance of helping today’s athlete with off-court development, as well as readings at local schools of children’s books that I’ve written. For me, getting involved was about starting foundations to help literacy. I’ve worked my adult life to help future generations be better than ours. … At the end of the day, our legacy has to be more than we made it. We have to help future generations.
Metro: What’s your role with the Warriors?
Foyle: I’m a Community Ambassador and I work a lot of different programs. We seek foundations doing great work and bring them to the forefront and amplify their work so they can quadruple their affects. We give them necessary resources to make them successful. What I do is more of a local level than what Dikembe Mutombo does. But he’s amazing. He’s an extraordinary human being. What we do has been great, especially with the amount of television exposure the Warriors have gotten the last couple of seasons. We get to have a larger voice, and kids love the Warriors, so they’re definitely more apt to listen to our message. Winning is a new thing and now everyone wants [to be associated with] the Warriors. It’s different from when I played here and we won 17 games. But now we’re great and everyone wants to be a part of it, and listen to our messages.
Metro: Regarding to people listening to messages, would you ever want to get into head coaching?
Foyle: I’ve coached the young kids and that’s enough fun for me. Coaching may or may not happen. But what I really want to do is write. I want to write about the plight of athletes. I want more time to do more things that coaching just wouldn’t allow. I wouldn’t rule anything out but it’s really hard work. Besides, I already work with 14 kids [on Golden State’s roster].
Metro: I already probably know, but what is your Finals prediction?
Foyle: My prediction, besides the fact that the Warriors are going to win it again? But think about what they’ve done and how tough the road is, and who’ve they had to go through. When you think about a team having the most amazing year, and won so much at home, but you’re only second in the West – that’s San Antonio. That’s how good the Warriors have been. It takes so much to have to prove yourself every night. And that goes for guys like LeBron, who’s been playing great. Honestly, you just hope everyone stays healthy and not kill each other en route to the Finals.
Metro: How about what Patrick Ewing is going through, as he continues to be passed over for head coaching positions?
Foyle: Patrick needs to have a coaching opportunity. He’s paid his dues. This is what he wants to do and I think he’ll be great at it. His knowledge of the game is superior. I really hope it happens. Not only because he’s been a dear friend of mine, but because he has a lot to offer. I’ve known Patrick for a very long time. Not only playing against him all those times – man, what an extraordinary jump shot! – but also as a fan. I grew up a Knicks fan and grew up in the New York area. He’d be great at it. And besides, us island folks have to stick together.