June 16, 1999

Mavericks and Spurs players
line up for God on TV special

___By James Dotson
___SBC North American Mission Board
___FORT WORTH (BP)--Critical fans may think professional basketball players are only concerned about laying up treasures of gold, but a network television special to be broadcast this summer highlights players who are laying up heavenly treasures.
___"Layup Treasures," produced by the North American Mission Board's broadcast communications group in partnership with Dallas-based production company VisionQuest
TEXAS NBA PLAYER David Robinson of the San Antonio Spurs is featured on a new network TV program called "Layup Treasures" produced by the North American Mission Board's broadcast communications group, based in Fort Worth. (Photos courtesy of NBA)
Communications Group, will be distributed to NBC network affiliates June 23 as part of the "Horizons of the Spirit" series. Individual stations determine whether to air the program and when.
___Among the players featured on the program are Hubert Davis of the Dallas Mavericks and David Robinson of the San Antonio Spurs.
___"In the midst of all that is going on, there is a handful of men within the National Basketball Association whose stories really are treasures," said Steve Riach, the program's producer. "They are men who aren't playing for the fame; they aren't playing for the money. They are playing to use the platform to have an impact on the communities and their peers."
___Riach said the concept for the special went into development late last year partially as a result of the overwhelming response to "Driving Force," a similar special that aired last summer profiling Christians on the NASCAR racing circuit. It also was co-produced by NAMB and VisionQuest.
___"Layup Treasures" profiles more than a dozen pro basketball players, coaches and commentators whose lives and careers bear witness to their faith in Christ. "It is a view of life in the NBA ... and how their faith is woven into that," Riach said.
___The first segment focuses on three rookie players--Bryce Drew, Michael Dickerson and Jeff Sheppard--and how they adapted to life in the NBA during a year of uncertainty.
___"These three have taken different paths to the NBA. One has had immediate impact, one sat on the bench and watched, and one of them has been signed and released, signed again and released and signed again," Riach said. "It is a look at their first year through their eyes."
___The program then examines the importance of family in the lives of two players, including Davis of the Mavericks. His mother died when he was 16, but it was his father's overwhelming efforts to raise his family that helped Davis achieve the success he found.
___"This is an example of a father and son who love each other dearly," Riach said. "When the game's over, when his teammates say, 'Hey, let's go out and party,' he says, 'I'm going to go spend time with my dad.' That is just so anti-establishment, if you will, of what life in the NBA is like."
___The program also examines another group of players who have given back to the community through their off-court efforts, as well as how several players have dealt with severe adversity in their lives.
___The program closes with the critical issue of how each of the players profiled describes their view of success. The focus is on Robinson, a center for the San Antonio Spurs who is known both for his mastery of the court and his involvement in helping provide a Christian influence in the lives of children.
___"He talks about his career and what success means to him," Riach said. "And really all
HUBERT DAVIS of the Dallas Mavericks is featured in the "Layup Treasures" TV special.
that culminates with each of the players talking about how real success for them has to do with their relationship with God."
___NAMB's access to the network affiliates is made possible through involvement in the Interfaith Broadcasting Commission, said Debbie Wall, TV and IBC marketing associate for NAMB. She noted, however, that each station makes its own decisions on when and if to broadcast programs received under the relationship.
___She advised Southern Baptists interested in the program being aired in their communities to contact their local NBC stations before June 23, if possible. This would allow stations time to tape the program from the late-night network feed and schedule its broadcast. Contacts after that date still would be helpful, however, because the stations have six months in which to schedule.
___"We want it to be aired on as many of the stations as possible in as many of the markets as possible so people can have the opportunity to be impacted by the program and the testimonies of these players," Wall said.
___She also noted that in the past it has been in many of the states where Southern Baptists have the largest presence that NBC stations have been less inclined to run the specials.
___"If viewers would call their local NBC station soon enough expressing their desire to see 'Layup Treasures' and programs like it aired, we might actually influence station scheduling decisions early in the process," she said.
___Other individuals profiled in the program include Tom Hammonds, Bryant Stith, Hersey Hawkins, Avery Johnson, Mark Jackson, Brent Price, Mark Price, Joe Dumars, Kevin Johnson, A.C. Green, Paul Westphal, LaPhonso Ellis, Charlie Ward and Jerry Schemmel.


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