Archive for January, 2010
WT: Yes, I am. There are a lot and, you know, when I go out and play, that’s another way I try to be an example. I try to let people see Jesus through me. And you rarely ever see me get an attitude, upset. (Applause)
RR: Well, I’ve watched you. Of course I watched you play at the University of Oklahoma. I watched you play right here in Mabee Center. I remember watching you during–several years ago–your senior year at ORU I saw you play right here in Mabee Center.
WT: My junior year.
RR: Well, during the NCAA tournament. (Right) Was that your junior year that I saw you here?
WT: Right, that’s the last time. RR: You played right here. That’s right, that’s right, right here in Mabee Center. And I noticed that when you got a foul called on you or something perhaps went the wrong way or something, maybe you got a call that maybe you didn’t deserve, you never got upset. Certainly you didn’t let it show on your face. You just acted like you had the attitude of, all right, we’re going to regroup, we’re going to get them in the end. Is that your attitude?
WT: And that’s the attitude, I think that’s Jesus working through me. (Applause)
RR: Now, Ted, I want to ask you, is this the kind of young man you’re looking for to play basketball for Oral Roberts University?
TO: You know, Richard, when I, when I came here the sign outside as I drove on the campus talked about mind, body and spirit. And I think that Wayman epitomizes the thing, the concept that we’re talking about. Yes, this is exactly what we want. We want great athletes here at ORU. We want to do our job to be sure that they grow in their spiritual life and we want them to graduate. And some of these days after you finish spending all that money, I want you to go back and finish. You know, Wayman left a year early and I know his goal is to finish that degree because it’s a matter of pride that he can go around the rest of his life and say, “Not only was I a great basketball player, but I graduated from my university.”
RR: Wayman, what’s it like playing in the NBA with people like Jabbar and Ralph Sampson and all those great players? What’s it really like when you’re under the board with someone that’s as big or bigger than you are?
WT: Yes. In college I used to have, you know, some nights I’d have a rest. Not against Kansas, they beat us twice, to come to think of it. But in college you have a couple of nights you could look forward to that you would have a rest. But now it’s work every night. You know, one week I was ____ Larry Bird, Dominique Wilkins, Charles Barkley or Dr. J. I mean night after night it’s work. And it’s like night and day as far as the competition because these are older men that know the game and they really, it’s their job. And they put it into a science almost as far as what they do, how you pace yourself through an 82 game season, plus with pre-season games it’s like 90 something. So it’s a lot of work out there.
RR: How have you been able to share your witness for Christ while you’ve been in the National Basketball Association? Is there anything that stands out in your mind the way you’ve been able to share Christ?
WT: Well, not right off. I talk about the Bible a lot. In fact, I’ve gotten some people, some of my teammates to go to church since I’ve been there. You know, the days we have off we try to go out and read the Bible. (Applause) In fact, before each game we have at home we have a chapel service and it amazed me how many people, how many players would be in there, you know. The first time we played Philadelphia, here’s Dr. J., who has been in the leagues 15 years, he’s the first guy in there. It really was an inspiration to me to God. There’s a lot of Christian players there. You know, it’s just great. I attend chapel services before every game, so that’s really helping me out and try to minister.
RR: Are you surprised to see how many born-again, Spirit-filled Christians there are in the National Basketball Association?
WT: Well, as far as drugs are concerned, I just thank God that He’s really taken I guess drug users away from me personally. Out of all my friends I’ve never had a friend that really I hung around that used drugs. And if I did, you know, God gave me the knowledge to get away from them and, you know, not that I was trying to be stuck up or anything, but I just had no desire for drugs ever. And I was exposed to drugs, in the sixth grade I had friends that were using drugs in the sixth grade, and it really blew my mind back then that, you know, guys would at that young of age would be encouraged to use them. And, you know, just from then on, my mother would always, she would almost preach to meabout the dangers of them, and, you know, just kind of got instilled in my mind that drugs are the most worthless things on this earth as far as drug abuse is concerned. And–
RR: And you didn’t need, you didn’t need drugs to excel as an athlete, did you?
WT: whatever, there won’t be enough people to pick my body up off the ground. So I just really encourage the young people to really think of what could happen. You know, we’ve seen this summer a couple of drug abuse. And, you know, we really need to take a stand and really go against drugs. I’m trying to start a program myself. In Indianapolis when the season starts, I’m going to all the high schools and talking against drugs.
RR: Now that’s wonderful. That’s wonderful. I want you to saythat again because that’s terrific.
WT: I’m going to different high schools. I’m going to have a program (Applause) that–in fact, my brother went today to try to establish it and hopefully we can get it started. I have 20 or 30 students to come to the game and I have their section. People know they’re against drugs and they’re in Wayman’s corner, and that’s just going to be the title. And hopefully that can go over and I can be an influence on the youth in Indianapolis and hopefully all around the world, it can get just larger and larger. We need more people to really preach against drugs now.
TO: I haven’t forgiven him myself.
RR: You just put that right on your tie. I know, Wayman, that while you were in high school, almost every coach of every major college in America came down to Washington High School to see you play. And one such man was the man who was at that time–a little higher, Ted, if you would–one such man was Ted Owens, who at that time was the head coach of the University of Kansas. And he had not come to ORU yet to be our head coach and now our athletic director. And, Ted, you were telling me about the many times that you came down to watch this young man play. And your lips were watering, you said, because you wanted him at the University of Kansas.
TO: Well, we felt we could maybe have the greatest team we’d ever had if we could get Wayman to come with us. And, of course, he attended the University of Oklahoma and made them a great basketball power.
RR: And you were in the same conference, you had to face him.
TO: We had to face him.
RR: How grateful were you when Wayman graduated from ORU?
TO: I think everyone in the Big 8 Conference was grateful, except Billy Tubbs.
RR: Well, Wayman, you know that basketball has–of course athletics in general–play an important role here. We believe that athletics is a way to give a witness. Millions and millions of people read the sports page every day who don’t ever open the Bible. It is their Bible. And we are in athletics to be a witness for Jesus Christ. And I was so thrilled when I heard you say the principles upon which your father helped you to build your life and how you, how you pray before every game and what Jesus really means in your life. And I want to ask you to do something. I don’t want to put you on the spot. But there are a lot of young people out of school this summer and are watching this television program. And you know what’s been going on across the country, the death of a prominent basketball player, Len Bias, the death of other young men and young women because of drugs you’d take a moment and talk to young people, really out of your heart, because there are things that are going on that’s destroying young people’s lives, in athletics and also in other areas of life. And so what would you say to a young person who is watching this program right now?
RR: How did you handle it when you were in high school and even in college when people would come up to you and kind of give you the business because your dad was a preacher? I’m interested, because I know how it happened to me.
WT: Well, my father is pretty well-known around the city of Tulsa. I’d tell them to look at him. You know, he’s a person that you can talk to and most of the time I would tell them to go talk to him, “and you’d see how proud I am, why I’m so proud of my father.” And I like people to come up to me and talk to me about my father because, you
RR: Did it give you an opportunity to be a witness?
WT: Definitely. Definitely. My father, the way he preaches in church and it just gives me more inspiration to be a witness.
RR: Did you ever get opportunity to get some of your teammates to come on over to the church and hear your dad preach?
WT: Right. In college I did, a couple of my teammates used to come over and play instruments. Tim McAlister used to, he’s a singer, he’d come and sing solos and, you know, most of the basketball team would be practicing. And Oklahoma basketball team really didn’t practice on Sundays, so we got to come home. And most of us were in church.
RR: Well, I want you to know, Wayman, that it took me a long time to forgive you–
LR: Now you’re going to get it, Wayman.
RR: It took me a long time to forgive you for not coming to ORU. I have forgiven you, but it took me a long time to forgive you. Because I can only imagine what our basketball program would have been in those years had you been here at ORU. But I want you to know I have freely forgiven you. And about six feet ten, it didn’t take me quite as long. (Applause) Now I know, I see our athletic director, ORU Athletic Director and head mens basketball coach, Ted Owens, here. Ted, would you come over for a minute and join us? Give him a good welcome. (Applause) Is there a microphone–let’s see, Wayman, I think right under here there’s a mike. Hello, Ted. I think I’ve got a microphone for you here, Ted. If I keep pulling it, there’s no telling what I’m liable to find under that couch.