For over thirty years, Swen Nater has been a highly-sought-after motivational speaker and has presented his energetic, humorous, and powerful messages around the world for corporations, schools, and various organizations.
Born in the Netherlands, Swen Nater immigrated to the United States at age nine through a series of events that ended on the Hollywood stage where Swen and his sister, Renee, were reunited with their parents and little brother, Ibo, on national television. Swen had never seen a basketball until he came to the US.
As a junior in high school and the second-tallest student in the school at 6’4”, Swen tried out for the basketball team and was cut. He didn’t try out as a senior.
Grown to 6’9 and attending Cypress College, California, Swen again attempted to make the team and this time he was successful. However, he didn’t play much his freshman year. But, after a lot of hard off-season work, Swen became a Community College All America, player of the conference, leading rebounder in the state setting a record of 39 (still a California record) in one game, and numerous other honors, the greatest of which was a scholarship offer to UCLA where John Wooden was head coach and they had already won six national championships.
While with the Bruins, Swen played behind the great Bill Walton and saw limited playing time, two minutes per game. However, impressive performances at the Olympic trials and the Pizza Hut All Star Game resulted in Swen becoming the only player ever to have not started a college game and yet be drafted in the first round of the NBA.
Swen chose the ABA, became Rookie of the Year, a two-time all star, and led the league in field goal percentage and rebounding. After three seasons, the ABA merged into the NBA and he jumped to the Milwaukee Bucks where he set an all-time record (still standing) for defensive rebounds in half a game at 18. He also pulled down 33 rebounds that game, still a Milwaukee Bucks record, and scored 30 points. That put him into the NBA’s “30-30 Club,” in which there are only six members.
Swen was traded to the Buffalo Braves for the first pick in the draft. After a year, the Braves moved to San Diego and became the Clippers where Swen led the NBA in rebounds and set the team record for double-doubles (double-digit point and rebounds in the same game) in a season. Swen is the only player that led both the ABA and NBA in rebounding.
When traded to the Los Angeles Lakers, Swen backed up Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and the team played in the NBA finals against the Celtics.
After his basketball career, Swen Nater became head basketball coach at San Diego Christian College where he led his team to the NCCAA national championship. Next, he took a management position at the corporate office of Costco Wholesale in Washington.
Swen Nater knows how to personally connect with an audience. Through humor, wit, poetry, and personal stories, Swen motivates, encourages, and empowers others to fully realize their potential. If you want the very best for your team, Swen is the ticket.
Swen is married to Wendy Ghiora, has two daughters, and proud “Papa” to two grandsons. Oh, yes, another grandchild is on the way.