Tommy Burleson shared his testimony during the intermission of my son’s Upwards Basketball game this morning. Mr. Burleson played starting center for the 1974 North Carolina State NCAA Championship team. He was the MVP of the 1973 and 1974 ACC Tournaments and was All-Final Four in 1974. He also played on the US Olympic basketball team and played eight years in the NBA. He now lives down the road from Raleigh in New Bern, NC.
Mr. Burleson mentioned that at age 14, he was already 6’8″. Now, at 7’2′ tall, he’s large. I’m 6’5″ and felt small next to him. Not a feeling I’ve had much since childhood.
In his testimony, Mr. Burleson shared the importance of building foundations in life. He stressed that Jesus Christ was the foundation for his life. He spoke of the importance of taking care of the fundamentals, like praying and reading the Bible each day. He founded and operates the Tommy Burleson Christian Evangelistic Ministry, which supports a medical mission in tiny Malawi, Africa and through which Mr. Burleson operates outreach basketball camps.
Mr. Burleson also mentioned the impact of his father, a former Army Green beret. As a former Airborne Ranger with sports active kids, I was interested in his father. Mr. Burleson explained to me that his father was in the elite advance troops that glided into Normandy on D-Day and he served in the Green Berets and on President Truman’s honor guard. His father would wake his son up every morning at 5:30 a.m. so they would work out together, running anywhere from one to three miles each morning. Sounds like a good idea.
Mr. Burleson was also enthusiastic for the testimony of another former NCSU athlete – Russel Wilson and recommended the following video he and some of his teammates made on the Making of a Champion:
Almost makes me want to cheer for the Seahawks. Almost, but note quite.