Former NBA All-Star guard Allan Houston is opening up about his Christian faith while promoting a new media campaign that seeks to tell millions about Jesus.
The two-time NBA All-Star is a spokesperson for He Gets Us, a media campaign that was launched in 2022 to "reintroduce people to the Jesus of the Bible and his confounding love and forgiveness," according to the He Gets Us website.
He Gets Us announced last week that the Fox Super Bowl LVII broadcast will include commercials from the campaign.
Houston, who retired in 2005 after 12 seasons with the Detroit Pistons and New York Knicks, told Christian Headlines he comes from a "heritage of faith." He grew up in Louisville, Ky., where his father, Wade, was an assistant basketball coach at the University of Louisville. He then followed his father to the University of Tennessee when the elder Houston became head coach.
"Faith was the source and foundation of everything we did," Houston said.
Houston said he grew serious about his faith around the age of 15.
"At that time, I started to understand my strengths in sports, and I just felt like there was something bigger that was calling me [and] driving me to think about – not just about trying to be important to my peers, or to uphold a certain status or name, or to play basketball and get noticed," Houston told Christian Headlines. "To me, I understood there was something much bigger, and God's voice just resonated with me. And I responded."
He compares his teenage faith journey to a basketball player attempting a game-winning shot
"It's unknown, but you don't want to live with the notion of what if I didn't take [it]," he said. "And that's kind of how I've always lived. … He called me, and He told me that 'I have a future for you, and I'm going to challenge you.'"
Faith, he said, has "given me a certain way to think, a certain way to perceive my life, a certain way to perceive my purpose, a certain way to be driven by impact and not material things."
Houston told Christian Headlines that "as a Christian," he was "very compelled by the power of the message" in the He Gets Us ads "and the way it stands out in cultural media."
"I was really moved by how they took this Person that people kind of portrayed and saw a certain way and made Him to be who He really is and portrayed Him to be who He really is," Houston said. "In our culture, in today's world, things are so divisive. People are angry, people don't trust people, they don't trust institutions, they don't trust systems."
The campaign, he said, helps viewers understand who Jesus "really is, and how he knows us, and wants to push us and move us and love us and give us the best opportunity to be what we are called to be."
Houston, drafted in the first round in 1993, averaged 17 points during his NBA career. In 2002-03, he led the NBA in free-throw percentage (.919). He won a gold medal at the 2000 Olympics.
Photo courtesy: ©Getty Images/Leon Bennett/Stringer
Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, the Leaf-Chronicle, the Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.