Letter #39: Called to Greatness

November 8, 2010

Dear KU,

I didn’t visit your campus as part of my trail schedule, but we were SO close to you that my traveling friends, the Dolloff’s, stopped through Lawrence on our way home from Topeka. Like every basketball fan, I have always wanted to see Allen Fieldhouse. I was able to make my dream come true…now if I could just score OSU vs. KU basketball tickets sometime?! You are a powerhouse, and my favorite college basketball memory was defeating you at OSU in 2008 when you later went on to win the National Championship. We stormed the court! To stand among the greatness that is Phog Allen was awesome. This stadium is OLD, has great character, and I can only imagine how loud it gets in there.

Joel told me basketball was invented by James Naismith at your campus. I did a bit of research on this (I never trust die hard fans of you with information like that), and it seems like it’s true. In that case, your program better be dang good if you invented the sport! I also have to give Lawton (i.e. the Dirty South, ghetto, and my hometown) a shout out! I was wandering around the memorabilia area of your arena and stumbled across this…Marcus Henry, Lawton Eisenhower graduate and Kansas alum, plays in the NFL!

I didn’t just get to see Allen Fieldhouse on my visit…I got to meet one of the best basketball players to ever step foot on Naismith Court. I got to hang out with Wayne Simien, former Jayhawk superstar and NBA player. I don’t say this to brag one bit. I say this because it was one of the most humbling experiences of my life. Wayne gave up everything this world offers (money, sex, fame, etc.) to move back to Lawrence and live his life for the Lord. He is the chaplain for your football and basketball teams and runs a ministry, “Called to Greatness.” He is using basketball to share Christ.

Wayne became a believer while on your campus in 2003 and hasn’t looked back since. He went on to the NBA where teammates took bets to see how long it would take him to fall into everything that is accessible to a professional athlete (great article about this). He stood strong. He surrounded himself with people and ways to keep himself accountable. He and his wife even waited until they got married to have sex. He’s now the dad of three, but a role model to many. He meets with students on your campus and mentors them. He is discipling some of your athletes. He is speaking truth to kids, athletes and coaches across the nation. This man knows the Lord and gave up everything to further Christ’s name. Wayne wasn’t a bench rider in the NBA. He has a ring from contributing to Miami Heat’s NBA Championship team. He isn’t a bench rider for Christ either.

Wayne gave up everything of the ‘world’ for Christ. What does this look like for me? How am I living my life for Christ? I am challenged by this man’s dedication to the Lord.

You are a neat campus, but you have far greater things happening on your campus.

Challenged by the greatness I see on your campus,

Wayne Simien’s newest fan


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