Tag Archives: Los Angeles Clippers

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: FCA.org)

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.”


Christian Athlete of the Week: Elton Brand

Atlanta Hawks power forward Elton Brand has had a very long career in the NBA. He played college at Duke and was the number one overall pick in the 1999 NBA Draft by the Chicago Bulls. He had two very successful seasons with the Bulls, averaging a double-double in both seasons. He then got traded to the Los Angeles Clippers in 2001 and ended up becoming the first Clipper to make the All-Star team since Danny Manning did it in 1994. In 2003, Brand received a big-money contract that kept him as a Clipper till 2008. During his time with the Clippers, he averaged at least 20 points a game for four straight seasons. His 2005-06 season was the best of his career. During that year, the New York native averaged 24.7 points, 10 rebounds and 2.5 blocks per game. The first seven seasons of Brand’s career were memorable, however, a ruptured left Achilles’ tendon in 2007 caused him to miss too many games and it affected the rest of his career. He would go on to the Philadelphia 76ers, the Dallas Mavericks and is now currently with the Atlanta Hawks, who were just beaten in Game Seven of the playoffs by the Indiana Pacers. Brand has become more of a bench player now, he averaged 5.7 points and 4.9 rebounds per game this season and he only started 15 games.

Despite not being a superstar during the second half of his 14-year career, Brand has always been strong in his faith and believes that God bless him a lot considering the circumstances. Sure Brand has never been on a winning team and never won the MVP award on the court, but he was also regarded as a great role model off the court. Brand has always had a great relationship with his mother. Here’s what former Clippers chaplain Robert L. Cummings had to say about Elton Brand and his loving relationship with his mom.

You’ll see Elton give kisses to his mom, see the way he interacts with everybody, see her, and know this all comes from a strong Christian background and her love for him,” Cummings said. (Credit: The Gathering Place)

Elton Brand was raised by his single mother in New York and grew up in a Christian environment. He also started the Elton Brand Foundation in the spring of 2000. His foundation is an organization that provides support to worthy causes in Chicago, Illinois; Peekskill, New York; and Durham, North Carolina. His humble and quiet walk with God has definitely made an impact on the players around him. He doesn’t proclaim his love for Christ in a very annoying “I’m holier you thou” attitude and he’s been known to be one of the kindest and nicest players in the NBA. Hopefully Brand can bounce back next year and be a part of a championship winning team.