Kent Bryant: A Bad Boy Finds God
By Michelle Wilson
The 700 Club
“With all the success, women and money, it still wasn’t enough. The void was there.”
Kent Bryant worked as a scout for one of the hottest record labels in New York City. But this wasn’t his first career choice. At age 12, he was already 6'3" tall. His dream was to become a superstar in the NBA.
“It was the thrill of a lifetime to play basketball and to have that great competition,” Kent tells The 700 Club.
By his senior year, he became high school All-American, which guaranteed a full ride at a number of division one universities. He decided on San Diego State.
“Having the ability to shoot the basketball and to drive to the basket were my specialties. They used to call me ‘K-Swish.’ I used to drop it in that net at all times.”
But instead of focusing on basketball and his grades, Kent turned his attention to other pursuits. By the time he graduated from college, he’d become a drug dealer.
“My friends called me ‘the pharmacist’. I really knew how to dice it up and serve it up well.”
Kent lost his shot at the NBA and with it his dream of super stardom. The thousands of dollars a week he was making as a dealer did little to fill a growing emptiness inside. So he started using the drugs he sold.
“Drugs kept me numb. Drinking and smoking and sniffing cocaine. Living a crazy lifestyle and blacking out. Meeting a girl at a club or at a bar and going home with her...”
One day, Kent was introduced to Sean “P. Diddy” Combs who was in the beginning stages of starting Bad Boy Records. Kent joined the company as a scout to develop and promote new music artists. Working with Diddy brought a new kind of high.
“Music industry, Bad Boy Entertainment was fast paced. A lot was coming at you all the time. A lot of success. A lot of fame. Working with artists such as the Notorious B.I.G., Faith Evans, Craig Mack. The list goes on and on. You can throw a party, have your artists come, charge at the door and make up to $30,000 $40,000 on a given night.”
Kent’s tenacity and ability to develop new talent earned him the name “Topp Dwagg”. He loved the lavish lifestyle that came with the title, but one morning after an all night party, he came face to face with how bankrupt his life had become.
“This suicidal thought came to me. Here you are everything that you felt that you desired with drugs, money, women, notoriety, but yet there was still this emptiness. I grab this rail. I’m looking over, and I’m ready to jump. Then I heard a voice say, ‘I have a plan for you. I have work for you. No, you don’t want to do that,’ and it was as if hands were pushing me back from the rail.”
Less than a month later, Kent became seriously ill. In two days, he lost 22 pounds.
“The destructive lifestyle that I led, sleeping with so many different women and having unprotected sex... I thought I had the AIDS virus. I thought I was dying.”
At the hospital, Kent discovered that he didn’t have AIDS, but a bad case of food poisoning. While recovering at home, his friend Steve paid him a visit.
Steve recalls, “I told him that I got saved. He really didn’t understand what saved meant. He thought maybe I had some beef on the street. Then I explained to him that Jesus saved me from my sins. I gave my heart to the Lord, and I’m going to church now.”
Kent says, “He had a Bible in his hand. He opened the Bible up, and he read John 3:16 to me. He started reading other scriptures. Steve, the same guy I used to do drugs with and run with in the music industry, is talking to me about Jesus.”
Steve says, “I was like, ‘Kent, God is real and He loves us. He wants you to know Him.’ I told him that God had me praying for him and he started to listen.”
Kent quit his job at Bad Boy Records and began to read the Bible. He says, “Here is a thug, a dude from the music industry and a drug addict, and I left all of that behind. I’m reading the Bible now, staying up all night reading book after book, studying and looking up words.”
Then one Sunday, Kent went to church and surrendered his life to God.
“I went straight to the altar, and I remember getting ready. These two brothers approached me, and they laid their hands on me. They started to pray, but I started to pray for myself. I lifted my hands. I said, ‘God, if You can take away this lust within me, I will give You my life.’ I had a divine encounter with God right there. The Holy Spirit filled me, took away my sin, my shame, my guilt, everything that I was struggling with, forgave me of everything that I did. It was as if God Himself embraced me. I was different, and I was changed right there in a moment.
“Nine and a half years later, [I am] happily married and God has so kept me. I can tell you this. The Lord is so awesome. I’ve never cheated on my wife. Never. From the lifestyle that I led, that is the most powerful part of my testimony to me.”
Today, Kent is in full-time ministry. He travels around the country with Urban Impact sharing his testimony and holding basketball clinics for at risk youth.
“Jesus has a plan for our lives no matter what rock you crawled out from up under, no matter what lifestyle that you were in, how much sin you committed. God is big enough and strong enough to forgive you and to show you His plan for your life.”
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