Finally . . . an NBA Role Model?
Just a few short months ago, Marvin Williams was a freshman basketball player at the University of North Carolina, helping the Tar Heels win the national championship. Today, the NBA's No. 2 overall draft pick is a multimillion-dollar member of the Atlanta Hawks.
The latest issue of World Magazine has an excellent article by Mark Bergin on Williams and how he is handling his newfound fame.
Bergin writes: . . .
Mr. Williams' "yes sir, no sir" respect in addressing reporters confirmed an uncommon discipline neatly folded within his personality. More than mere country manners, this public display was intentional. "Somebody's always going to be looking at you, so you can always affect somebody's life whether it's just being nice to somebody or helping somebody out," he told WORLD.
Since dominating local courts in the small naval town of Bremerton, Wash., Mr. Williams has understood his power to influence. While helping the University of North Carolina Tar Heels claim a national championship this past March, he joined several teammates in offering regular pre-game prayers. Millions of dollars later, nothing seems to have changed. "God blesses us all everyday," Mr. Williams said. "Without Him, none of this would be possible, so you've definitely got to give Him the glory."
Maintaining such humility in the coming years may prove more difficult. With a soft outside shooting touch and explosive moves around the rim, Mr. Williams figures to join the NBA elite - thus entering a culture dominated by vanity and self-promotion.
But those who know Mr. Williams well are unconcerned. "God has gotten him to where he is today, and he knows where his strength comes from," said his mother, Andrea Gittens. . . .
Unlike many of his fellow first-round selections, Mr. Williams has not yet purchased a new car or overly accessorized with expensive jewelry. "He's always going to be the same person," said longtime friend and Bremerton High teammate Phil Houston. "He's not going to change."
This is encouraging news, for Christians, parents of basketball crazy kids and for a professional sports league that has a long way to go in cleaning up its bad-boy image.