Christian Athlete of the Week: Chris Kaman

The Los Angeles Lakers’ season is over, but one player still deserves some recognition. Chris Kaman plays center for the team and stands at 7 feet tall and weighs 265 pounds. His career started with the Los Angeles Clippers when he was selected sixth overall in the 2003 NBA Draft out of Central Michigan University. Kaman’s great-grandparents are German, but he was born in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He is a dual citizen with both the United States and Germany, allowing him to play on the German national team.

During his rookie year with the Clippers, Kaman played in all 82 games, becoming only the second rookie player in franchise history to accomplish that feat. He made the All-Star Rookie Team and was eventually named an NBA All-Star in 2010, averaging a career-high 18.5 points and 9.3 rebounds per game. In 2011, Kaman was part of the monster trade with the New Orleans Hornets to acquire Chris Paul. He had a good start with the Hornets, but his play dwindled down towards the end of the season. In 2012 he signed with the Dallas Mavericks, joining German teammate Dirk Nowitzki. Unfortunately, the Mavericks missed the playoffs that year for the first time since the 1999-2000 season. Kaman signed with the Lakers in 2013 and the 32-year-old veteran remains with the team so far.

Although it may not be that public, Kaman is also a Christian. He grew up in a Christian home, being raised by Christian parents and went to a Christian high school. Kids at a young age feel pressured to become a Christian because that’s what their parents believe or their parents tell them to, but Kaman was able to accept Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior on his own.

“Well, it started off just going to Bible classes and all that, but there was definitely a time when I realized I really wanted to do this,” Kaman said. “I don’t remember the exact moment, but I remember a period when I was probably 14 or 15, and I had to begin making the right decisions. There is a lot of peer pressure at that time in seventh and eighth grade. And I had to begin making the right decisions and just trying to live the right way. There was peer pressure to do some things that I probably shouldn’t do, but I just went the right way and chose not to.” (Credit:

Kaman has also been able to maintain that faith as a professional basketball player. His work with kids who have ADHD and his devotion to volunteer at basketball camps show that following Christ is something that he has personally chosen to do.

“I’ve matured so much in the last six years, so it’s a powerful thing to be in the NBA and be able to deliver a message to kids,” Kaman said.
“I do a lot of things with kids and basketball camps. And I always tell people that the hardest thing is trying to be a proper witness to people by my actions on the court, because the game is intense and fast-paced, and you’re just trying to play and be competitive. At the same time, you don’t want to say the wrong things or do the wrong things because there are people watching you.”

Kaman also has been a big contributor to the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. His message to kids and everyone else around him is that staying a Christian for a long time is not easy. There are times when you get spiritually tired from serving God, but Kaman reminds us to lift our spirits and be happy that we serve an Almighty God.

“I think there are times when you don’t want to do things like your devotions, or you’re tired, or whatever,” Kaman said.  “But you push yourself the same way you do with basketball on and off the court. In the off-season when you’re working hard, you’re pushing yourself to become better, and I think with Christianity, you never want to be satisfied with where you’re at. You always want to have more. And I think that the extra time spent between you and God and reading your Bible and doing your devotions, that’s going to help your relationship with Christ even more.”