Kids live on dreams, and a dream that many of them share is growing up to be a world-famous athlete. The percentage who make it is small, but of that number, some do go on to fame and fortune. However, the career of even the best professional athlete is short—ten years, on average. There are exceptions, such as Michael Jordan, but even Sumter’s legendary Bobby Richardson only played about twelve seasons for the New York Yankees.
One of these exceptions is A.C. Green, the “Iron Man” of the LA Lakers, whose professional career spanned sixteen years and earned him numerous awards. With 1,192 consecutive games played, he holds a record unsurpassed by anyone else in NBA or ABA history.
Yet, this “dream life” was not without its perils. Green was tempted many times by his teammates and others to compromise his moral and religious beliefs, something he was able to resist successfully. This makes him a rarity, as so many famous and wealthy athletes eventually do succumb to the pressures and enticements of a lavish new world (unfortunately, one only has to hear the names O.J. Simpson, Michael Vick, Pete Rose and Tiger Woods to get what I mean).
Holding on to your dreams without losing yourself is the essential message of A.C. Green’s post-basketball career as founder and chair of the A.C. Green Foundation, dedicated to helping today’s youth in their quest for a life of meaning. From a statement on his website he describes the Foundation’s activities as “building character, building strong bodies and strong minds, winning and losing with dignity, teamwork, and sacrifice… In short, we are building leaders.”
A.C. Green is the keynote speaker for the annual Sumter Mayor’s Prayer Breakfast, being held Thursday, May 3, 2012 at the M.H. Newton Family Life Enrichment Center, 415 Manning Avenue. Breakfast is served beginning at 6:45 a.m., with the program starting at 7:30 a.m. Along with Mr. Green, speakers will include representatives from local churches, businesses, organizations and Sumter’s mayor, the Honorable Joseph T. McElveen, Jr.
Tickets are $10 and may be purchased through Wednesday afternoon at the Swan Lake Visitors Center, 822 West Liberty Street. They will also be available at the door for $12 each. Individuals of all faiths are welcome and encouraged to attend. Come on out and support this uplifting event as the Prayer Breakfast Steering Committee and all participants seek out ways to “inspire God’s children.”