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Pat Williams: More than Magic

Share This article Pat Williams has been in the business of basketball for quite some time. In fact, he was just 29 years old when he was hired to run his first NBA team. Considered one of the best minds in the sport, Pat knows his responsibility to produce a winner. But he also feels responsible to be a good representative of Jesus Christ.

ANDREW KNOX: Pat, is it tough to be a Christian in this industry, or has your faith helped you in your 40 years in this business?

PAT WILLIAMS: I really think subconsciously, Andrew, when I came to Christ, I thought that from that point on, life would be filled with ease, comfort, pleasure, red carpets, roses thrown at my feet, and nothing but wins. (laughs) Oh, how naïve.

ANDREW KNOX (reporting): Don't let him fool you. Pat has had great success in the NBA. His greatest achievement was putting together Philadelphia's championship team in 1983. Fast forward to the mid '90s; he almost did the same with Orlando, but the Magic fell just short. This, however, was a really tough year for the Magic. They're now watching the playoffs on television like the rest of us.

PAT WILLIAMS: Ours is a bottom-line business, and it all comes down to winning and losing. And losing is hard. There's no question. But I have found through the ups and downs of professional sports, which I've been in now 42 years, that my faith, my anchor in Christ, really allows me to live up on top of my circumstances.

ANDREW KNOX (reporting): And he humbly tries to help others do the same no matter what team they play for.

PAT WILLIAMS: I'm so anxious and so eager to get the word out that people really will understand the importance of making this decision to accept Christ, to invite Him into their lives. I gave Kobe Bryant a copy of the book I wrote called How to be Like Jesus because Kobe has expressed, through all of his difficult times, a real openness, I sense, to spiritual things. I signed his dad to his first NBA contract in 1975, so I've known the Bryant family for many years.

ANDREW KNOX: As a follower of Jesus, I know people are important to you, so it must be difficult, because players are important to you, to cut them and to have to trade them. How do you balance that out?

PAT WILLIAMS: It's all part of what you do. We've got a product that we're trying to sell and run. But I think people respect you if you have honesty and integrity in your life, if you take responsibility. It's a very, very select business. It's just for the elite athletes of the world to play at this level. They're not normal people. In fact, they're very abnormal. They're physical geniuses; and with genius comes some offbeat personalities, some different approaches to life.

Pat Williams' book "How to be Like Rich DeVos"ANDREW KNOX (reporting): Pat's approach can also be a bit different. Here he is just after our interview getting a quick workout, nice clothes and all. And somehow he finds the time to write a book every year. His latest is How to be Like Rich DeVos.

PAT WILLIAMS: Well, here's the interesting thing. Rich Devos is my boss. He's the owner of the team. He's a follower of Jesus Christ. So it's important, I think, to read about successful men who have really hit the zenith of their careers who continue to give credit to the Lord.

ANDREW KNOX (reporting): Pat Williams is one of those men.

PAT WILLIAMS: You're not an accident dumped down on this Earth. God really knows you and loves you and cares for you, and that's why Jesus came into the world, to take care of this problem that we all have called sin. We all know we've sinned, but Jesus came to clean it up so that we could forget it after He forgave it and give us a fresh start.

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About The Author


CBN Vice President of The 700 Club | This New Jersey native moved to Virginia for grad school at Regent University, then a blind date with a southern girl changed his life. Three kids later, Andrew is the VP of The 700 Club, and a co-host of 700 Club Interactive. Prior to these roles he served as CBN’s Sports Reporter, interviewing the likes of John Wooden, Michael Irvin, James Brown, and Louis Zamperini, and reporting from the Super Bowl, Final Four, and World Series. His second Masters’ is in Practical Theology, and he loves spending time with his family, playing the drums, and reading non