Conversations About My Father: Ami James And Allan Houston

06/16/2011 03:43 pm ET | Updated Aug 16, 2011

A few weeks ago I set out to engage people in a conversation about their fathers. Through the experience the depth of emotions provoked in talking about "dad" struck me and the powerful sentiments stirred by distant memories seemed to surprise even those who were sharing their stories. The discussions were often deeply personal and I am grateful to all of those who shared glimpses of their fathers.

In Celebrating Father's day it is also important to acknowledge the issue of fatherlessness. I caught up with former pro basketball player Allan Houston and TLC star Ami James who shared their unique perspectives on the subject.

Ami James, star of TLC's New York Ink sat down with me to discuss fatherhood. James was born in Israel and spent much of his childhood without his father who left the family when James was four years old. Speaking candidly James says, "To me the most important thing in the world is to be there for my daughter ... I learned the importance of having a father around ... she's the love of my life and it is the greatest gift in the world having a kid ... I cherish it because I never had it."

Former Knick sharpshooter Allan Houston, the father of six children, sat down with me to talk about his dad and fatherhood. Allan remembers growing up in "a total family environment," and says his dad never raised his voice to his mother. He enjoys an especially close relationship with his father Wade who coached him at the University of Tennessee and says that selflessness and a commitment to putting other people first is the most valuable lesson he ever learned from his dad.

It's something Allan has taken to heart dedicating his foundation to fighting Fatherlessness in communities across the country. According to Allan "our social environment is lacking the training for young men to be fathers" and his clinics are dedicated to building parenting skills and fostering a nurturing family dynamic. Exhibiting the same passion that helped him excel on the court Allan states, "When a man takes on the role of Fatherhood it is the most important role they will ever have in their life."