He is a professional NBA basketball player who currently plays for the Dallas Mavericks. He was selected by the Houston Rockets in the first round of the 2001 NBA draft. He previously played for the New Jersey Nets, the Milwaukee Bucks, the San Antonio Spurs, the Golden State Warriors, and the Utah Jazz. In 2002, he was selected to the NBA All-Rookie Second Team. He was also a member of the USA men’s national basketball team at the 2003 Tournament of the Americas and the Athens 2004 Summer Olympics.
His parents were both Christian missionaries, and he moved frequently throughout his young life. He said, “My life has always been a mix of church and basketball. But through tough moments and times of extreme growth, I still have confidence, not because of my athletic success but because of Philippians 4:13. ‘I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.’ When I step out on the court I don’t believe there’s anybody I can’t guard, I don’t believe that there’s a shot that I can’t make.”
He also said, “I don’t think anyone can call themselves a finely-tuned Christian. It’s an everyday struggle. I’m a perfectionist, and if I mess up I’ll feel so guilty that I won’t read my Bible, then it’s a snowball effect. I really need to get to [that place of] consistency. I know God is teaching me, and I feel extremely blessed.”
He plays the position of offensive lineman for the St. Louis Rams of the NFL. After high school, he played college football at the University of Alabama, started three BCS National Championship Games at three different positions in 2010, 2012, and 2013. After his 2011 season, he was recognized as a consensus All-American and won the Outland Trophy for being the best lineman in college football. After the 2012 season, he won the Rimington Trophy for being the best center in college football. He was chosen by the Rams during the 2013 NFL draft. In 2014, he was named one of the recipients of the Today’s Top 10 Award, given annually by the NCAA to 10 outstanding student-athletes.
He said of his faith in Jesus Christ, “I was saved at a young age. I had really good parents who took me to church, and I started asking them why they went to church all the time and called themselves Christians. Once they explained it to me, I wanted to be a Christian too. Football has played a big part in my life and at times, it has been a big stumbling block. What I’ve learned is to make Jesus the Lord of your life. When I was growing up, sports were really everything. I focused on sports, and all I wanted to do was get a college scholarship. I really focused only on playing, practicing and working out in the off-seasons in sports. Pretty much everything I did was geared toward how I could be a better athlete. I spent the majority of my time on that.”
“As I got into college, it was the same thing but even more so because we practiced so much more and worked out so much more. I really defined myself as an athlete more so than a Christian who happened to be an athlete. I got hurt one year, and God really started showing me that if this is the most important thing in your life, if this is what you’re putting all your emphasis on, you’re going to be empty. That’s something God has continued to teach me, especially when we won the national championship. I remember holding the crystal football and thinking to myself, ‘This is great, but it’s not going to fulfill me in life.’ It was such a short-lived feeling and that led me to realize that nothing was going to fulfill me but a relationship with Jesus Christ.”
He went on to say, “As I read through the Bible, that’s evident throughout the whole Bible. John 6:35 says, ‘I am the Bread of Life. He who comes to me will never hunger, and he who believes in me will never thirst.’ I think that verse describes what I’m talking about. Nothing can fill that void in your heart except a relationship with Jesus Christ. Even though I’m saved, I have to teach myself that daily, because I sometimes try to fill that void with other things like sports, school work, girls or whatever. Nothing is ever going to fulfill that but Christ; that’s just how we were designed.”
She is an English professional golfer who turned professional in 1983. That same years she joined the Ladies European Tour. Ten years later, she joined the U.S. based LPGA Tour and was rookie of the year in her first season. She made the top 100 on the LPGA Tour money list nine times. In 1989, she won the Open de France Dames and in 1991, she won the AGF Ladies’ Open. She played a full tournament schedule until 2004, and now runs her own golf academy based in Knoxville, Tennessee. In addition to that, she is a golf coach at Carson–Newman University in Jefferson City, Tennessee.
She said of her faith, “I grew up in a good family environment, playing lots of sports— especially golf. I attended the church of England, but I didn’t understand how I could have a ‘personal relationship’ with Jesus. How could He hear me? Why would He listen? Another tour player told me about Jesus’ love. She shared of how I could repent or turn away from my sin and receive forgiveness in and through the person of Jesus Christ. I saw a daily difference in the lives of some Christians I knew. In 1983, wanting to know God in that same way, by faith through prayer I received Him as my Savior and Lord. God does listen and care! He answers my prayers. He is in my life—in my heart, in my mind, and in my friendships. He has even shown me ways that I can give back and experience greater fulfillment than I find in sinking a putt. He is always with me.”
He is a former professional baseball player. Over his 11 year career, he played for the Texas Rangers, the St. Louis Cardinals, and the New York Mets as well as the Montreal Expos and the Baltimore Orioles. He currently holds the Major League record for RBIs in an inning, becoming the only player in MLB history to hit two gran slam home runs in one inning during a 1999 game. He played his last game in 2010 before officially retiring in 2014. In 2008, he received The Sporting News Comeback Player of the Year Award for the National League and was named to the Dominican Republic national baseball team for the 2009 World Baseball Classic.
In an interview with CBN, he said of his faith, “In those difficult moments in my life, I pray. I pray and continue to pray. I know that God has the answer. Not in the moment that I want, but I know in His moment, because I know that His moment is going to be the right moment….I’m different, because I’m a Christian. Every Christian should be different. Faith is everything. If you put God in your heart and ask Him, ‘I want the real deal,’ God is going to answer you. He’s going to support you. It’s the best relationship ever. More than your wife, your mother, you father. Jesus is going to support you in every moment of your life.”
He is an American volleyball player on the United States men’s national volleyball team. He played on the AVP tour from 2000 to 2006 and then resumed it in 2009. He led the U.S. National Team to a gold medal in the Beijing Olympics in 2008. In 1998 and 1999, he earned AVCA second-team All-America honors. And in 2013, he was named “Most Valuable Player” of the Men’s CEV Cup in the European CEV Cup volleyball club tournament.
He said of his faith, “I grew up in a family of faith, so I was introduced at an early age to the reality of God and Jesus. I didn’t question it. After college, however, the more I studied, the more I began to question everything. I didn’t take anything at face value. But I remember, in my most skeptical moment, I couldn’t get past the awe and wonder of creation and the reality of God.”
He continued, “Just as my faith is a process, so too is my understanding of what it means to be a Christian athlete. I believe that God is most glorified when I use the gifts He has given me to the best of my ability. He has given us all special gifts and I believe it brings Him pleasure when those gifts are used to the maximum. To me this means that I can compete to win with utmost intensity and it can glorify Him. Faith and life with God is a daily process and God communicates with me throughout the process…God has used the sport of volleyball to teach me how to be a better man. It is my hope that as I compete and try to excel and be the best player and teammate that I can be, that God will be pleased and glorified. This is a great reminder at the beginning of a new season to pursue greatness (no matter what you are doing) in the name of God and clinging to the strength He provides. Not with the end goal of winning—though it can be a goal and is a part of the process—but rather to become more like God and glorify Him.”