|The Cross Over Basketball!
|The avid fan of basketball knows the crossover dribble is one of the strongest,
most effective individual offensive moves in the game. I've spent countless
hours working on my own cross-over dribble. I studied players like Isaiah
Thomas and Tim Hardaway, so I had great examples to watch and learn how to
perfect the move.
No matter how hard I worked, no matter how perfect my cross-over was, I could
never break through the barrier and be selected to join the school basketball
club. The fact is...I played basketball for all of the wrong reasons. I played
basketball to shine. I wanted to impress people every where that I went. I
wanted to play in the NBA because of the fortune and fame.
Fortunately, God brought some key circumstances and situations in my life
that forced me to regain my focus and concentration on my relationship with
Jesus Christ. As I grew older, I started to see the importance of reading the
Bible and spending more time in prayer. I found myself transforming into a
"Christ-like" person. I really began to understand what my life was supposed
to be about. I finally understood why I had an over-bearing passion to play a
game that everyone seemed to think I had no future with.
I received a clearer understanding of who God is and what he expected of me. I
realized that God was using me and my difficult struggles to show people that it
is God, not the dream busters who have the final say in what you can
We are all given our own individual gifts, talents and desires. The key to living
a successful, fulfilled life is placing your relationship with God above everything
else. As the relationship grows stronger, you begin realizing ways in which you
can utilize those gifts, talents and desires to bare witness to Jesus Christ to
others around you. It is then...and only then....that you truly find purpose and
meaning and life.
I played my first season as a Semi-professional ball player for the Orlando Aces
of the American Basketball Association. No...I didn't play a lot. I did, however,
play against and with some of the best athletes I had ever been around. More
than anything, I did exactly what God expected me to do - I utilized the
experience and grew to be a better player and a better Christian.
This year, God gave me an opportunity to move to an even better league - the
CBA (Continental Basketball Association). What's even more ironic is I
returned to the place my basketball career started - Pikeville, Kentucky. The
East Kentucky Miners are the first professional sports team to call Pikeville
I came to the Miners not knowing what to expect. I told the head coach - Coach
Kevin Keathley - that I knew it may seem like I wasn't good enough, but I
would work harder than anyone to earn whatever I received. I was invited to
Veteran's Camp, and although I didn't make the active roster, the team found
a way to keep me around. I was eventually named the team manager, and from
there I went on a rampage.
I worked hard every day - running stairs and working on my cross-over dribble
with a weighted vest, putting up 200-300 NBA three pointers a day, running
timed suicides, working on my defensive footwork, running 2 miles a day
(sometimes twice a day), and pretty much doing whatever I could to be a better
player than I was when I woke up that morning. By seasons end, all of the hard
work paid off. In the final home game of the regular season, Coach Keathley
and the Miners Management decided to activate me and let me play in the
That night was a magical night that most people will never forget - especially
me! I got to play approximately 4 minutes, and I made good use of every
opportunity I had. I finished the night with 5 points off of 2-3 shooting (1-1
from 3-point land), 2 assists and a steal. What was most humbling was the
response of the crowd toward everything that I did - from pre-game
introductions, to checking into the game to scoring and everything! It was as if
everyone knew what I endured to finally be given a chance to play, and they
made me feel special.
Even better than that, our team broke a 29-year-old scoring record for a single
game in the CBA by scoring 194 points in the game. We didn't even need
overtime. The final score was 194-115, and I scored 5 of those points. It was an
historic night! Like I said...it will not easily be forgotten. God brought
everything full circle that night. He even worked it out so that my wife was
actually in town from our home in Orlando to witness all of this from the
stands. It was an incredible night...one of the most significant moments of my
Ultimately, I have accomplished far more than anyone around me believed I
could accomplish, and I owe every bit of that success to my Lord and Savior
Jesus Christ. What's great is the more I trust in God, the more He continues to
amaze me. He's constantly putting me in the right place at the right time, and
putting me in touch with the right people to keep my basketball dreams afloat.
I'm looking forward to a return to the East Kentucky Miners next season
(2008-2009). I have a vision to be a more contributing player on the court. I'll
be working hard all summer long so I can return to Pikeville in the best shape
of my life!
I hope my journey inspires others to deepen their own relationship with Jesus
Christ! I put "The Cross Over Basketball" and found that playing for Christ is
the only way to play. I wouldn't have it any other way! I encourage you to do
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|Dig Deep For Your Dreams...Use Your Heart as the Shovel...You May Dig Up a Diamond!