Etan Thomas Biography

American basketball player

Dedrick Etan Thomas (born April 1, 1978) is an American former professional basketball player who played for the Washington Wizards, Oklahoma City Thunder, and Atlanta Hawks of the National Basketball Association (NBA). He is also a published poet, freelance writer, activist, and motivational speaker, as well as a co-host of Centers of Attention, a sports talk show on ESPN Radio Syracuse in Syracuse, New York, alongside former professional basketball player Danny Schayes.


  • 1 Early life
  • 2 Career
    • 2.1 College
    • 2.2 Professional career
  • 3 Other work
  • 4 Personal life
  • 5 Political activism and social causes
  • 6 NBA career statistics
    • 6.1 Regular season
    • 6.2 Playoffs
  • 7 See also
  • 8 References
  • 9 External links

Early life

His name is derived from the 18th dynasty "heretic pharaoh" Akhenaten, an ancient Egyptian king.



Thomas played his college basketball at Syracuse University from 1996 to 2000, where he averaged 11 points per game and almost 7 rebounds per game and graduated with a degree in business management. In his sophomore season he was named the Big East Most Improved Player; in his junior and senior years he was named Big East Defensive Player of the Year. At the end of his Syracuse career, Thomas was drafted 12th overall in the 2000 NBA Draft by the Dallas Mavericks. He also played basketball at Booker T. Washington High School in Tulsa, OK, where he was a teammate of De'mond Parker, R.W. McQuarters and Ryan Humphrey.

Professional career

Without ever playing a game for the Mavericks, he was traded to the Washington Wizards in 2001. He averaged 4.3 points and 3.9 rebounds throughout the 2001–02 season.

During the Wizards' training camp for the 2007–08 NBA season, a routine physical examination discovered that he had a leaking aortic valve. On October 11, 2007, Thomas successfully underwent open heart surgery. He returned to play for the Wizards on October 29, 2008, a full year after his surgery. In his first game back, he had 10 points and eight rebounds.

On June 23, 2009, he was traded along with Oleksiy Pecherov, Darius Songaila, and a first-round draft pick to the Minnesota Timberwolves for Randy Foye and Mike Miller.

On July 27, 2009, he was traded to the Oklahoma City Thunder along with a 2010 second-round draft pick and a conditional 2010 second-round draft pick in exchange for guards Chucky Atkins and Damien Wilkins.

On September 2, 2010, it was announced that the Atlanta Hawks had signed Thomas.

Other work

In the summer of 2011, Thomas starred in the dramatic production of Our Town by Thorton Wilder, alongside former Wizards teammates Gilbert Arenas and Jared Jeffries, as well as Boost Mobile spokesman Faizon Love.

In 2005, Thomas released a book of poetry titled More Than an Athlete: Poems by Etan Thomas which included works critical of former Wizards head coach Doug Collins.

In 2012, Thomas co-authored the autobiography Fatherhood: Rising to the Ultimate Challenge, which he discusses his fatherless childhood and the importance of fatherhood.

Since 2020 Thomas has been a writer and podcaster for

Personal life

A Baptist, Thomas is a member of the First Baptist Church of Glenarden and is involved in facilitating youth forums.

Political activism and social causes

Thomas says that he became an oralist when, after he was detained and humiliated by police officers in high school, his speech teacher had him sort and verbalize his feelings into a speech. The Tulsa World Newspaper published a story on his experience. His mother spoke with him about activists who used their positions as athletes to amplify their reach, such as Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Muhammad Ali, Bill Russell, and Jim Brown.

In his book, More Than an Athlete, Thomas discusses how the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) runs as a business, and not to the service of the student athletes. After his wife was injured in college, the NCAA fought to take away her scholarship, and therefore, her ability to pay for and attend college. He points out the hypocrisy in an organization who makes billions a year and claims that there is not enough funding available for their main sources of profit, the athletes.

In September 2005, Thomas was one of several celebrities to speak at an anti-war rally in Washington, D.C. He also spoke out at the September 15, 2007 anti-war protest in Washington D.C. He blogs for The Huffington Post. Thomas said he was inclined to be against the Iraq War, as he felt there was no clear reason to invade the country and the fact that some of his brother's friends who were deployed to Iraq, and upon learning about how terrified they were, decided to begin speaking out.

Thomas actively supported Barack Obama's 2008 campaign for U.S. president. On August 16, 2008, he appeared with Democratic National Committee chair Howard Dean at stops in northern Virginia as part of the Democratic National Committee's "Register for Change" bus tour to encourage local voter registration drives. Thomas gave speeches at two stops in Fairfax County and the City of Alexandria.

In January 2010, Thomas donated $30,000 to the Haiti relief efforts after the 2010 Haiti earthquake.

Thomas is an advocate against police brutality.

NBA career statistics

Regular season


See also

  • Sports portal
  • List of NCAA Division I men's basketball career blocks leaders


    External links

    • Career statistics and player information from
    • Official website
    • Etan Thomas on Huffington Post
    • Appearances on C-SPAN
    Etan Thomas