A.C. GREEN IS 36 AND ABSTINATE
Matthias r. Monschein
As a member of the Lakers, Suns, Mavericks and most recently the Miami Heat, Green continues to add to his NBA record of consecutive games played which, as of this article, stands at 1,122 games in a row. As Green's career enters into its 15th season, he currently holds the fifth longest, all-time, consecutive games played streak in the history of four professional sports in North America. That list is lead by Major League Baseball's legendary Cal Ripken.
A.C. has built a reputation in the professional sports world as being a man of integrity and intensity both on and off the basketball court.
The type of lifestyle that he leads is a testimony to his belief in Jesus and his walk with the Lord.
This gentleman who is better known for his fast breaks and defensive rebounding has a stronger passion for helping the young people of America through his Los Angeles-based A.C. Green Foundation. The program provides today's kids the chance to learn the principles of leading a godly life through sexual abstinence, discipline and education.
I can tell you from talking with him that this man does practice what he preaches. At 36, and single, he plans to maintain his life of abstinence up until the day he is married.
"Abstinence is just a small part of my life. It is not the most important thing." Says Green "I think your expected to do that if you are going to be a Christian. At the same time there are certain standards and examples that you have to live by. We get so excited as a generation when one person does something good and that is the main focus of their attention but in the same respect that person may be the biggest jerk in the other parts of their life. It's the whole picture that we need to keep in mind."
Matthew 6:33 says "Seek first His kingdom and all its righteousness, and all these things will be given you as well."
"That has always been the focal point of my life since I became a Christian. I sincerely believe that all of the other points in my life will take care of its self if I keep that always in mind."
It almost seems too good to be true when you consider that the biggest priority of the sports world is how many millions you can make and how big a superstar that you can be. You may ask how does this person keep from getting caught up in all of the worldly distractions of the NBA?
"Professional Basketball is just an occupation like any other job out there. But your life is more important than the game. There are still standards and principles that you have to live by every single day of your life." Says Green "It is very easy to get caught up in all of the distractions in your career. My career is important to me, however, it's not bigger than life. If you want to be a Christian you have to be a person with values, principles and integrity."
How did a man who is known for his fast breaks and his defense first find out about our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ?
"I grew up in a home that was very religious." A.C. says about his spiritual turnaround. "I was what you would call a people pleaser. Somebody who would live according to what people wanted me to do. I went to church every Sunday but I wasn't looking for a relationship with Jesus."
"I lived according to what my friends thought or what they wanted me to do. I was very insecure and very empty."
In 1981, A.C. was on his way to college with a full-ride basketball scholarship and his own car which was a gift from his parents. He was an All-American player and very popular.
"I had a lot of things going for me but at the same time I was very empty on the inside. Something was wrong. I finally decided that the most important thing for me to do was to find out what it took to go to heaven and understand more about this Jesus person that I have heard so much about. I was at a church in Hermanston, Oregon and the amazing thing was that God really spoke through the Minister. He had a sermon that day, in which he asked, do you want to go to heaven or do you want to go to hell? He spoke from what I now know as the gospel. I had to make a decision whether I wanted to trust Jesus and live by the standards that He set or someone who seeks to please man."
A.C. was at church with 10 of his best high school friends. "I was the only person that went down that Sunday; my ten friends stayed behind and on August 2, 1981 I was born again as John 3:3 says every person should be. "I tell you the truth. No one can see the kingdom of God unless he become born again."
The young man who was on his way to Oregon State was a new man. Besides his scholarship to college, he could now be sure that he would also have a full-ride to heaven.
He learned that it wasn't important to be a people pleaser but a man who pleases his Lord and Savior.
A.C. Green is not looking to be the highest paid player nor the most photographed or even the person with the most endorsements. He would prefer that his fans think of him as "the very best player that I can possibly be. That's always a goal that I place on myself. I know that when I'm out there playing basketball, I put everything on the line for Jesus. I don't really compromise or lower my standards. I want to develop as a basketball player just as much as I want to develop as a Christian."
A.C. plans to pursue a career as a minister and often speaks to youth groups through his Foundation.
As you look back at what A.C. Green has already accomplished, you discover that his ministry started back in August of 1981. Regardless of what the Lord has in store for him in the future, God has already blessed him as a faithful servant. It was a pleasure to meet him and I hope that our paths cross again.