If Reggie White were still with us today, the first thing I would do is give him a big hug and say thank you.
When I met up with Reggie White a few years into my NBA career, my life was at a crossroads. I was at what I like to call a Damascus road moment. If you talk to just about any Christian, they'll tell you about a similar time - when you have the crossroads to continue on a path of bad decisions, or to turn your life back over to God.
For those who aren't familiar with Saul of Tarsus, he refused to believe that Jesus was the Son of God, and was determined to persecute any followers of Christ. It was on his way to Damascus, where he hoped to imprison other Christians, that Saul was blinded by a light from Heaven. All of a sudden Jesus revealed himself to Saul, and from that moment on, he was a converted man.
Paul, as he became known, went on to write more of the New Testament than anybody else.
When I had my Damascus road moment, God didn't blind me. In many ways I had already been blind; what I needed was for my eyes to be opened. Instead of blinding me, all God had to do was put Reggie White in my path. This was in the mid-90's and I was struggling in my journey with the Lord. Specifically, I was struggling with pornogrpahy.
During road games, when I was by myself in the hotel rooms, it was a bad habit I developed. I definitely knew it was wrong, but at that time, for whatever reason I was putting my own desires ahead of what God wanted from me. The thing that made it worse was that I was one of the outspoken Christians in the NBA, and yet here I was committing sin behind closed doors.
I gave a talk recently at Florida State, my alma mater, where I told the football players to watch their actions, because we live in a day of the internet and cell phones where every mistake can be recorded. But the honest truth is that even when it seems like nobody is watching, God still knows the mistakes that we're making. And God knew I needed a change in my life.
That's when I met up with Reggie White and the organization he and his wife were starting, called CAUSE - Christian Athletes Uniting for Spiritual Empowerment. My wife, who has stuck by my side and encouraged me, came with me to Reggie's conference. And after reigniting my faith, I decided to develop a much healthier habit for the road.
I decided to start a Bible study for NBA players.
Page 2 Page 3
(Title photo courtesy of Florida State Athletics)