Allan Houston: How Basketball Led him to a Real Relationship With Jesus Christ

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He is a retired NBA player who played with the Detroit Pistons from 1993–1996 and with the New York Knicks from 1996–2005. He is a two-time NBA All-Star and a Haier Shooting Stars Champion. He finished his basketball career as one of the NBA’s all-time greatest long-range shooters and one of the all-time leading scorers in Knicks history. He helped Team USA to win the Gold in the 2000 Summer Olympics.

He is currently the Assistant General Manager for the New York Knicks. Along with that, he is dedicated to his foundation work, philanthropy and improving relationships between fathers and their children through The “Father Knows Best” Basketball Retreat & FISLL Curriculum. Because of his efforts, he was named “Father of the Year” by the National Fatherhood Initiative in 2007, “Social Entrepreneur of the Year” in 2008, and received the resident’s Council on Service and Civic Engagement Award in 2011.

He says of his faith in Jesus Christ: “I learned to walk on a basketball court. From an early age, basketball was everything to me. Growing up, I had faith, but I thought being a good person was “enough” for God. I stayed out of trouble, got decent grades, and followed my conscience. Looking back, I now know that deep down in my heart I wanted a personal relationship with God, but I didn’t know how to get it.

“As I said, growing up I loved basketball but I never guessed that it would be basketball that would help me find that relationship with the Lord I had been longing for. I look back now and know that it was God working in my life all along. God used basketball and what it brought to my life to lead me to a strong relationship with him. After I signed with the Knicks, I had some weighty conversations with my cousin, who is like a spiritual brother to me. During one conversation it hit me – I am a basketball star because of the ability God has given me. I knew then that God had given me this gift for a reason and I started to think about the impact I could make as a professional athlete spreading the word of God.

“I will never forget November 17, 1997. On that night of prayer, I dedicated my life to Christ. My relationship with God has continued to grow stronger and deeper. When you keep filling your heart with God and meditating on the Word, things come to fruition. At times, it feels like my heart just overflows with blessings. I’ve worked hard, but it is by God’s grace that I have been put in this position. God gives me so much strength and love that I want to make sure people know about the peace He can bring to our lives.

“Being a Christian and a professional athlete many times requires us to take the less popular road, the road that people sometimes don’t understand. But I find joy and strength in knowing that I am fulfilling God’s purpose for my life. So I encourage you to take the step toward the peace, joy and purpose you want from life – take the step and dedicate your life to Christ. There isn’t anything or anyone who can fill your life with joy and peace like Christ. Wherever you are or whatever situation you are in, Jesus can take care of it. He will turn your dust to diamonds. You just have to trust him and allow him to take over your heart and soul. He has already made the first step when he died on the cross…all you need to do is take the next – and most important – step towards him and his wonderful salvation.”

His name is Allan Houston.

allan houston