A tribute to Steve Patterson

Not that I have already obtained it or have already become but I press on so that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus.  Philippians 3: 12

I was saddened to read in the sports section of the Sacramento Bee and San Francisco Chronicle that Steve Patterson had passed away.   The obituaries were far too short, viagra usa store and hardly represented who Steve Patterson was.  Here is what was written:

“Steve Patterson, viagra sales sickness a center on three UCLA national championship basketball teams (1969-1971) a former Arizona State coach, ailment and a NBA player for 5 seasons has died from lung cancer.  He was 56.  The Patterson family said he died Wednesday (7-29-2004) at his Phoenix home.”   Sacramento Bee, San Francisco Chronicle

I will always remember Steve Patterson, not particularly for his basketball accomplishments, but for the courage to present his faith to his teammates.   His athletic accomplishment is all the sports world remembers about him, but his courageous faith is what all of heaven is talking about now.

I know he did some great work for Campus Crusade for Christ and even helped start a ministry on the UCLA campus called the Jesus Christ Light and Power House.  This ministry began with a fraternity house converted for the purpose of housing Christian students at UCLA and became a place where students of all faiths and persuasions could come to hear the gospel of Christ.

My wife Myrna went to high school in Santa Maria with Steve.  He was a couple of years ahead of her but she remembers watching him dazzle the cheering crowd.  She also recalls with great respect the Christian character he brought to his high school peers.

I found Steve to be a very humble man who loved the Lord and wanted so much to see his fellow UCLA Bruin teammates come to know the Lord as he did.  He often sought other Christians’ help to improve his testimony to these guys.  I remember spending an evening with him talking about the difficult questions that his fellow teammates posed to him, specifically those asked by Kareem Abdul Jabbar.    I gave him my best advice, and he really seemed to appreciate it.  As a thank you for spending time with him working through these questions, he invited me to play with him in a three-on-three competition that was held on Friday afternoon at Pauley Pavilion.   He knew I loved playing basketball, and saw that this would be a memorable highlight for me.  Now I was a good basketball player, but not even close to his caliber.  But that did not bother Steve; he knew it would mean a lot to me, and besides he could make up for my shortcomings on the court.  In fact, during this competition we did rather well, making it to the top court.  But that was as far as I would go because there awaiting us were three other great UCLA players (Kareem Abdul Jabbar, Curtis Rowe, and Lucius Allen).     I thanked Steve for including me to this point, but felt I needed to bow out. He did not want me to, but conceded.   I think Sidney Wicks another great UCLA and NBA player took my place.   I am not sure who won, but it was just great to be there.

The world saw Steve in the faint glow of his basketball greatness.  I saw Steve in the great light that came from his spiritual accomplishments and Godly heart.

2 Corinthians 5: 6-10   6 Therefore, being always of good courage, and knowing that while we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord   7 for we walk by faith, not by sight–8 we are of good courage, I say, and prefer rather to be absent from the body and to be at home with the Lord. 9 Therefore we also have as our ambition, whether at home or absent, to be pleasing to Him. 10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.