“This man may be recognized for his talents on the basketball floor, but I recognize him for being such a tremendous man of God,” Liberty University men’s basketball coach Ritchie McKay said as he introduced former New York Knicks shooting guard Allan Houston at Friday’s convocation.
The two-time NBA All-Star stood in front of a packed Vines Center, not to play a game of hoops, but to share his testimony with thousands of students. As he began encouraging students to take their relationship with God seriously, Houston found himself being uplifted by the atmosphere on campus.
“I am encouraged not only by your spirit, but I am also encouraged by just being here today,” he said. “When I was 20 years old, I had no idea that it was possible to live a life more pleasing to God.”
Houston used the story of Joseph in Genesis 39 to express the importance of focusing on the dreams and visions God provides rather than earthly desires.
“The most important thing you can have as someone who is going to carry the Word of God is your character — your example,” he said.
Selected by the Detroit Pistons in the 1993 NBA draft, Houston spent three years in the Motor City before signing with New York in 1996. After leading his team to the NBA finals in 1999, the shooting guard earned an Olympic gold medal in Sydney, Australia, the following year.
These days he is impacting lives off the court through the Allan Houston Legacy Foundation. The organization helps strengthen the family unit through retreats and provides entrepreneurship programs to young adults in disadvantaged communities.
Each year, the foundation hosts the “Father Knows Best” Basketball Retreat. The weekend retreat mentors to fathers and sons from across the country, using basketball as a tool to instill life lessons.
Houston, a devoted husband and father of four, credits his father as being a powerful influence in his life.
“There is definitely a spiritual legacy that as a man you are called to leave in order for your family to be blessed,” he said. “That’s why it’s important for the father-son retreat to be something that we continue to grow and build on.”
Visit www.allanhouston.com for more about Allan Houston.