Michael Redd: A Preacher's Kid on the Court
By Shawn Brown
The 700 Club
Michael Redd is one of the top players in the NBA. He went from being a second round draft pick for the Milwaukee Bucks in 2000 to becoming an all-star in just three years. He currently holds the NBA record for most three-point field goals made in one quarter with eight in the fourth. But being an NBA star at the age of 20 brought its own set of challenges, even for this preacher’s kid.
“You remember how Satan tempted Jesus and showed Him, 'You could have everything, and I can give You the world.” That’s how it was of me," Michael tells The 700 Club. "I’m sure a lot of guys, especially at 20 years old, really cannot be mature enough to handle the social aspect of the enemy as well -- the fame, the fortune, the temptations. It was definitely a struggle."
Michael grew up in church, but he had a lot to learn.
“It wasn’t until I came to Milwaukee that I started to develop a real relationship with Jesus Christ. I thought because I was a pastor's son and my mother’s saved [that] I can ride on their anointing or their Holy Ghost and get to heaven.
“The reputation of being who I was and my dad being know as a pastor in the city -- everything I did was being looked at. I was under a microscope. Once I got to college, I was like, 'Wooo!'"
After three years of college, Michael was drafted by the Milwaukee Bucks.
“I got drafted in the second round. No. 43. My dad told me, 'Son, it's not about the position, but it's about the position.' I said, 'Dad, I don’t want to hear that. I’m mad. I got drafted late in the second round. Don’t be spiritual with me right now. I’m frustrated.' But I understood what he was saying though. He was saying that it was not about the position that I got drafted at, but it was about the position that God had me in at that time. I didn’t see it. I said, 'Ray Allen’s here. Glen Robinson’s here... Sam Cassell. How am I ever going to play?'”
At first, Mike simply didn’t play. He was frustrated in his professional role, and his private life was out of control.
“When I came to Milwaukee, it was the first time I had ever been separated from my parents," he shares. "So it was a challenge. I did some things that I wish I had never done. I ventured out into the world and really almost destroyed my testimony. It was being promiscuous, dealing with lust and alcoholism. I stuck out like a sore thumb, because I would be in a club, and I wouldn’t have no fun. I would be just sitting there. Everybody would be like, 'Mike, there’s a celebrity over. There’s another celebrity. There’s women. There’s alcohol. You’re not having fun?'”
But one night in Atlanta changed everything.
“It was one game. I was not doing the things that I should have been doing. I was like, 'Lord, I want to be set free. I really want to live right. Help me to live right.' So we were playing in Atlanta, and usually we get a pre-game nap. The Lord woke me up out of my sleep and said, 'Pray.' I began to get up and just pray. Tears were falling out my eyes. [I] asked the Lord for repentance and to restore me.”
Michael rededicated his life to the Lord. Things began to change.
“I just kept continuing to play hard at practice, have a good attitude everyday, and the Lord made ways to where I could start playing five minutes. Then it increased to 21 minutes, then it went to 28 minutes. Then I became a starter. So the rest is history.”
Michael earned his way to the starting guard position. Shortly after that he was offered a mega contract with the Bucks.
“I’ve seen where God has taken me from, and I’m so grateful. A lot of guys in the second round don’t get the chance to get that breakthrough in the NBA.”
Now Michael is living his dream. He’s married, and he started the Michael Redd Foundation to give back to his home community of Columbus, OH. He also bought a brand new church building for his father.
“I tell people all the time, 'Basketball is what I do. It's not who I am. I’m a man who loves God.' That’s first. Having a relationship with Jesus Christ is the best thing you could ever do. It really is. You have peace of mind. The one thing that I saw as a characteristic is the peace that you can’t understand. When times are rough, I still have peace and that’s Jesus Christ. I have power to live right because He lives in me.”
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