Allan Houston, New York Knicks
by Doug Greengard
Much like the strategy that goes into preparing for a basketball game, Allan Houston of the New York Knicks finds greater similarities in being equipped for a bigger game - the game of life. "The more you have the word of God in your heart, the more you believe and trust it and the more you will apply it to your life," said Houston. "I think it starts with time with Him. It starts with prayer and surrendering. One thing I've learned is that we have to live in a worship mode, everyday, all day. That's what I try to do everyday is worship Him and be willing to do whatever He asks me to do."
Doug Greengard is the host/producer of the Christian Sports Minute, a radio feature airing on nearly 350 stations in North America. To receive Heroes of Faith, a book filled with 24 stories of well-known sports figures, send $10 to Greengard Family Ministries, P.O. Box 113013, Metairie, LA 70011-3013. Visit the website at www.christiansportsminute.com
Houston, the Knicks six-foot, six inch shooting guard who has ranked among the NBA's leading scorers the past three seasons, grew up in a Christian home. After committing his life to Jesus Christ at the age of 16, Houston went on to play collegially for his father, Wade, at the University of Tennessee, where he became the school's all-time leading scorer.
In 1993 NBA draft, Houston was selected by the Detroit Pistons with the 11th overall pick. Three years later, after joining the Knicks, Houston began taking his faith seriously. A strong influence was the fellowship of teammate Charlie Ward and Houston's cousin, who was living in New York at the time and would share scriptures with the NBA star.
"He would apply them to basketball," added Houston. "Sometimes the Lord reaches us in different ways and that's how He pulled me back into Him. It happened through people I trusted and cared about. I trusted their judgment. (In 1995) I really committed myself, denying myself, taking up my cross to really follow Him. All that time in between I knew I had God's protection over my life but I really wasn't living my life for Jesus Christ. I was living it for Allan Houston and using God and Jesus as a backdrop."
No longer a backdrop, Houston is sure to make his Lord and Savior the main attraction. "God doesn't put laws in place just to be legalistic," said Houston. "He put them in for our own protection. When I understood my purpose, His plan for my life, that's when my love grew deeper for Jesus."
These days, Houston is more focused on reaching the highest goal.