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The Sixth Man: A Memoir by Andre Iguodala

Andre Iguodala is an NBA player. He’s a 3-time champion and a Finals MVP. He earned this achievement whilst on the Golden State Warriors. It wasn’t until this year after acquiring young all-star D’Angelo Russell in a trade, the Warriors were forced to send Iguodala to Memphis in order to make room for him. The impact and sacrifices Iguodala has made helped the Warriors win 3 championships in five years. The Sixth man refers to being the best player coming off the bench in substitution (There are five players in a starting lineup, so Iggy is the sixth). Before he was a player in the Warriors, Iguodala was a starter for both the Denver Nuggets and the Philadelphia 76ers. He stepped down from the starting role to give Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green bear the load. In NBA, there’s an award rewarded for the best sixth man. Iggy has never won that award. He has, however, won the rare Finals MVP award in 2015 which is awarded to the best player in the finals. He wasn’t the best offensive player, that was Stephen Curry, but he was the best leader and the best defensive player shutting down rival LeBron James and that’s why he was given the award.

This memoir will take us down into the story of Andre Iguodala. From his roots in his small town in Illinois to going to the big stage in Oakland. He grew up in an area of poverty, racism, and grew up without a father.

The Autobiography of Gucci Mane by Gucci Mane

Gucci Mane is to Trap music as Kurt Cobain is to Rock music. To trap was to deal drugs and most of his music talked about that. This autobiography goes back to his childhood in Alabama and how his family raised him to be the person he is today. His upbringing wasn’t great, but he always worked hard to hustle his way out whether that’d be through trapping or making music. It wasn’t until his late teens when his family moved to Atlanta to stay with his mom’s boyfriend when Gucci Mane met Zaytoven, a Bay Area born producer. He and Zay worked on creating a ton of music that became the foundation for today’s mainstream hip hop music. Zaytoven created the hard 808 sounds while Gucci Mane rapped about the hardcore life of trapping.  This book also goes through a lot of down periods in Gucci’s life, such as the charges for murder, his addiction to lean, and troubles with his girlfriend. It’s crazy to think both of them are still in the mainstream today as older artists. My favorite scene in this book was when a small group named Migos was coming in to meet Gucci at his record label. Everyone noticed the fake jewelry they were wearing and Gucci came out with real gold watches and chains and knighted the Migos with them. As they left, one producer mentioned seeing Migos drop off their old fake jewelry in the trash. Gucci’s a man who lived through many trials and continues to push forward today.

Born a Crime by Trevor Noah

I didn’t know who Trevor Noah was before finding out this book existed. I first found this book when Bill Gates released his summer reading recommendations in 2016. This past summer, my friend Michael and I were watching a stand-up show of his and I thought it was hilarious yet tragic. He came out of such a poor upbringing yet finding and giving joy to others as a profession. That inspired me to buy his book.

South Africa suffered from Apartheid, which is the worst form of racism imaginable. It was discrimination, slavery, and segregation all combined. People were categorized into 3 races, Black, Colored, and Whites. Chinese people were “Black” because they were viewed as lesser people. But Japanese people were “White” because South Africa wanted better relationships with Japan for their electronics. The Whites even though their 10% of the country’s population, controls 90% of the land. The other 90%, the Blacks, were segregated into 10% of the land and were forced to work for the Whites. Noah explained the education simply there. “If you’re destined to be a farmer, why learn about history and math when you can learn about agriculture.” The system was against black people and this was the world Noah grew up in.

The title born a crime comes from the fact Noah is mixed. His mother is Xhosa and his father is Swiss/German. Therefore, he is colored. It is illegal in South Africa for races to have sex with each other. Noah is proof his parents did that crime. Growing up, he couldn’t be seen in public with his mother. His mother would hire other women to walk with him and would photobomb in the back of family pictures because they couldn’t be seen with each other. Born a Crime is a crazy book with a world so unreal to us Americans, but real to many others out there.

God has a Name by John Mark Comer

A faith-based book about being more intimate with God. Who is the God that Christianity serves? Jesus? Holy Spirit? The Father? It turns out the Father has a name. Our English translation is Yahweh (Or Jehova) which means I AM WHO I AM. It was said when God appeared to Moses in the form of a burning bush. Moses literally asked him “Who shall I say sent me?” And God replied with “I AM WHO I AM.” Comer mentions the early Jewish people were afraid of misusing God’s name and never wrote “God”‘s name down, using substitutes like LORD. LORD, however, is a title and not a name. Comer says that’s like referring your spouse as “husband” or “wife” instead of their name. It’s as if you never knew that person. The Father is a person just as much as Jesus and the Holy Spirit are. He’s also a friend and we are called to call him by his name too. A great book to dive deeper into your faith with God.

Let me know which books you read this summer!

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