Christian NBA Role Models Honored at All-Star Breakfast

What does it take to be an NBA "All-Star" Role Model?

Character, leadership, integrity, and faith, Dave Lower, spokesman for Athletes in Action, told the Christian Post.

At the third annual All-Star Breakfast on Saturday, the sports ministry honored two Christian leaders in the NBA with two esteemed basketball awards for their demonstration of such qualities on and off the court.

The event in New Orleans, La., featured the first-ever presentations of the Jerry Colangelo Award and the Bobby Jones Award. The awards honor a current or former NBA coach, owner or executive and a current or former NBA player, respectively.

Rich DeVos, owner of the Orlando Magic, was named recipient of the Jerry Colangelo Award – which was created by Jerry Colangelo, chairman and CEO of the Phoenix Suns and former managing director of the USA Basketball Men's Senior National Team for 2005-2008.

Finalists for the Colangelo award included Avery Johnson, coach of the Dallas Mavericks and Pat Williams, senior vice president of the Orlando Magic.

Allan Houston, a two-time NBA All-Star who is considered one of the all-time leading scorers in N.Y. Knicks history, took home the Bobby Jones Award.

Bobby Jones, who presented the award himself at the breakfast, was the 1983 NBA Champion as a player for the Philadelphia 76ers. He was also a U.S. Olympian, four-time NBA All-Star, and played All-Defensive First Team for10 consecutive years.

According to Lower, Jones was a fine example of a Christian NBA player who exhibited integrity even when it was not called for. In one game, Lower said, Jones admitted that the ball went out of bounds on his account even though the mistake was made on his team's side of the court and the referee didn't witness the fault.

Houston beat out A.C. Green, an NBA All-Star who played the most consecutive games played by anyone in the NBA, and David Robinson, a 10-time NBA All-Star, Olympic Gold Medalist, 2-time NBA Champion, and NBA MVP, for the award.

Ernie Johnson, studio host for "Inside the NBA" on TNT, served as the emcee for the event.

The All-Star Breakfast is hosted by Athletes in Action (AIA), the sports ministry of Campus Crusade for Christ International. It is part of a series of events by AIA designed to honor athletes and coaches who model exemplary character, values, integrity and faith.

Nominees for next year's awards, which will be presented at the 2009 All-Star Breakfast in Phoenix, Ariz., are expected to be announced later this year in mid-December.