Anthony Ianni is a man of many hats. He’s a husband, a father, a motivational speaker, and as of Tuesday (officially) a published author.
“I’ve had so many people over the last seven years say to me, ‘Oh you need to write a book. Or write an autobiography.’ The fact that it’s done and I have a signed deal, I’m just super excited,” Ianni said.
His memoir, which he wrote with Robert Keast, is titled ‘Centered’ and it describes how Ianni, who was diagnosed with autism at the age of four persevered through social, athletic, and academic struggles to earn a spot (and later) a scholarship on the Michigan State men’s basketball team.
He is the first autistic athlete to play Division I basketball. So naturally, it’s a story the Indiana University Press fell in love with.
“They love how the story is told,” said Ianni as he gushed about all the over positive things IU had to say about it. “They love how the book can be marketed to so many different audiences when it comes to sports, autism, schools, educators, professionals, and people who just like a good underdog story.”
It was a budding relationship from the start.
“Their expectation for this book is very high,” he added. “They have a lot of high hopes for it and they’re on the same page as me. That’s the first thing I fell in love with, with IU Press, was that they have the same mentality and the same expectations as me, my agent, and my co-author. That’s what we were looking for in a publisher.”
Ianni has made it his mission to educate those across the country about autism and he does it by sharing his story. A story that will now have an even greater reach.
“Whenever I’ve presented at schools, they’ve only heard a fourth of my story. Now they get to hear the whole thing. They get to hear more stories about me being bullied, and disrespected, as a kid.”
The road to becoming a published author hasn’t been easy, in fact it’s been two years in the making, but now that it’s here Ianni is ‘over the moon’ and continues to be blown away by the support.
“It is emotional,” he said as he wiped away a tear from his eye. “There are so many people in my life who told me I wouldn’t get to this point and this is just another thing I can cross off my bucket list.”
Ianni then joked about how his Mom (Jamie Ianni) wants him to write a kids book. He said, “That’s what she wants me to do, so in a couple of years I think I’ll start doing that.”