Today’s Inspired story spans two continents– North America and Africa. It is the story of an African basketball player going to college in the United States while remembering his homeland and her people. It is the story of making a difference and the difference that something that seems so common to many of us– shoes– can make in a life, a heart, a future.
Davidson’s Other Star, Off the Court by Anna Katherine Clemmons
He waited seven months.
Seven months of sweeping and draining a pothole-laden outdoor basketball court, one of the few courts that exist in Benin City, Nigeria. Occasionally the teenager managed to sneak in a few shots before the older players arrived and forced the “cleaning kids” to watch from the sidelines. If the younger hopefuls had on basketball shoes or clothing, the older players took them. So most of the time, he went home without his shoes or T-shirt. Still, like many of the children of Benin City, he waited for a chance to play.
And one spring afternoon Andrew Lovedale was given his chance, when a player was injured and another pointed to Lovedale, signaling his entrance. Before stepping onto the court, an older player, Philip, stopped him. “Pass the ball,” Philip said. “If you shoot it, I’ll kill you.”
The game was tied when Lovedale’s team took possession with six seconds left. When he got the ball, he did the only thing he wanted to do. He shot the ball.
“I didn’t even look to see if I’d made it,” Lovedale said. “I just took off running toward home, hoping that he [Philip] wouldn’t come after me.”