Children often find playing in the NBA inspiring, but former NBA player C.J. Watson has found a new way to inspire children; by creating children’s books. C.J. Watson last played in the NBA in 2017, and since then he has released two children’s books. His first book, CJ’s Big Dream, was released in November 2019. Its sequel, CJ’s Big Project, was released in March 2020.
“It was just a random idea I had to challenge myself and try to push myself. I want to try to continue to be an inspiration,” says Watson. “Playing in the NBA is an inspiration to kids. But I wanted to continue to offer kids knowledge and tell my story through books. Kids are the next generation of leaders. They’re the next entrepreneurs, doctors, lawyers. Some kid will grow up to be President. I just wanted to try to share some gems and drops of knowledge. I want to try to propel little boys and girls and let them know it’s OK to shoot for their dreams and to dream big.”
Written in collaboration with author Tamika Newhouse and illustrated by artist Cameron Wilson, Watson’s books are based on his own experiences growing up in Las Vegas as he strove to achieve his dream of playing in the NBA. “These are true stories,” Watson said. “I made it to the NBA after growing up in the inner city and not having the same resources or same chances as some. Growing up, seeing graffiti, abandoned houses, drugs, gangs, it can be discouraging. But I had a great support system that kept me focused on my goal.”
C.J. Watson has two children with his wife, Danielle and they are currently expecting a third. Watson is also expecting to release at least one more book. Although it isn’t the most profitable project, Watson writes his books to inspire children the same way he did as an NBA player. “Unless you’re a big-time children’s author, you probably won’t make a living at this,” says Watson. “But I just did it to inspire kids and challenge myself. It’s kind of like the NBA. I never thought I’d make the NBA. But lo and behold, I worked hard enough and got there.”
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