About Dr. Dick Barnett

Born in Gary, Indiana in 1936, Dick Barnett’s dream began with a ping-pong ball and a tin cup at the Campbell Friendship House. Soon thereafter he was introduced to the game of basketball and became an All-State player at Roosevelt High School. In 1955, he led his team to the first game in Indiana basketball history where two all black teams met for the state basketball championship. Led by the great Oscar Robertson, Crispus Attucks High School went on to win that championship game but history was made and racial barriers were broke down.

Shortly thereafter, Barnett was discovered and recruited on the courts of Gary, IN by Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame Coach John B. McLendon to come play for him at Tennessee A&I. Three consecutive National Championships later, Barnett went on to play an illustrious fourteen year career as an NBA All-Star and two-time champion with the New York Knicks. He then retired from the NBA in 1974 and was Assistant Coach under Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame Coach Red Holzman.   

  • Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame
  • NCAA Hall of Fame
  • Small College Basketball Hall of Fame
  • NAIA Hall of Fame
  • Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame
  • Tennessee Basketball Hall of Fame
  • Jersey #12 is immortalized in the Madison Square Garden rafters
  • Six-time Champion

Dr. Dick Barnett - Inspirational & Motivational Speaker

Dr. Dick Barnett has expanded his lecture series, teaming with the National Basketball Association, Madison Square Garden and Signature Bank to focus on education, dreams and the limitless dimensions of human possibilities for aspiring students that continue to dream about their futures.

He also uses “The Dream Paradigm” to reach business professionals to discuss the limitless dimensions of human possibilities. “The Dream Paradigm” composes the disciplines of perseverance, sacrifice and determination driven by the unquenchable thirst to achieve a goal, scale an ambition and to live one’s dream. The never-changing struggle through life travails, relationships, finances and careers threatened by the temptations of ever present sex, drugs, love, hate, disappointments, politics, and the emergence and impact of social media. Dr. Barnett states that these are the ingredients that challenge ambition on a sustained basis and discusses how to overcome these obstacles in his message. Learn more…

Photos & Videos

In The News


Against the backdrop of the civil rights revolution taking place in 1950s America, Up the Back Stairs is Dr. Dick Barnett’s serious and personal reflection of the important role that sports has played in American history.  Although largely ignored by mainstream media and the American public, history was made by a superlative basketball team from Tennessee A&I University and their legendary coach John B. McLendon.  This pioneering squad not only captured an unprecedented three consecutive national championships, they were also an essential force for breaking down deep-seated institutional barriers of segregation in collegiate and professional athletics, and integrating Kansas City hotels and restaurants.

Justice, honor, and restitution would finally be served when this history-making team and their coach are inducted in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.

Milton S. Katz
Author of “Breaking Through: John B. McLendon, Basketball Legend and Civil Rights Pioneer”

Books by Dr. Dick Barnett

Dr. Barnett's Testimonials

“Men of Color: Self-Determination or Self-Destruction was a tremendous success. Your workshop, and the positive energy you generated in your workshop, ‘Knowledge is Power’ was all appreciated. Our youth could not have a better role model.”

Michael Higgins
Boys Harbor, Inc. New York, NY


“Your remarks were an inspiration to all in attendance. You inspired us too as a role model, as a great athlete, as an educator, and as a concerned individual by giving back to the community”

Mr. Fred Price
Newsday Corporation, Coordinator New York, NY

“Dr. Barnett was an inspiring presence to our Webber students. His approach captivated the students; he motivated, cajoled, challenged, and highlighted their self esteem with just one presentation”

Dr. Earl Harvey
Director “Who Said I Can’t” Tutorial Program, Webber Middle School, Detroit, MI

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