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JaVale McGee: A Miraculous Story of a Fabulous Talent Almost Aborted

by | Nov 4, 2014

 

By Dave Andrusko

Editor’s note. The National Basketball Association (the NBA) has just begun its 2014-2015 season. In light of that, I thought the following inspirational story would be very much worth re-telling.

JaVale McGee

JaVale McGee

A tip of the hat to JivinJehoshaphat who posted a quote from and a link to a story in Sports Illustrated about professional basketball player JaVale McGee.

McGee was traded from our local team, the Washington Wizards, to the Denver Nuggets, in the process going from what was then a perennial loser to a team with a good shot at the playoffs.

The story, by Lee Jenkins, is extremely well written and is built around a common (because true) narrative about McGee: a raw talent whose prodigious potential is off the charts but who is among the league leaders in dumb plays. But from our perspective it is the first and the last paragraphs that matter most.

“On a Saturday morning in the spring of 1987, Pamela McGee sat on the shore at Dockweiler State Beach in Los Angeles, 72 hours from a scheduled abortion. ‘Do you want to be pregnant?’ the counselor at the clinic had asked her. ‘No,’ McGee replied. She was a single, 24-year-old professional basketball player, and she could not take maternity leave. And even if she could, she couldn’t imagine hauling an infant to Italy and parking the stroller next to the bench. But as McGee looked out over the Pacific, she began to reconsider. ‘I prayed and prayed and prayed and felt like I heard a voice from God,’ McGee says. ‘He was telling me, ‘This is your gift.’ ” The next day she went to Faithful Central Bible Church in Inglewood, and the pastor delivered a sermon about not aborting one’s blessings. O.K., God, McGee thought. You don’t have to beat it into my head. She called the clinic to cancel, and on Jan. 19, 1988, gave birth to a boy with physical abilities that would border on the supernatural.”

In between this remarkable beginning and the last paragraph is McGee’s story, inspiring on many levels. Although he appears to the outside world to be the classic man-boy, there is an awful lot beneath the clownish exterior that leads you to believe that he will be as good a human being as he will be an outstanding basketball player.

But what gives the story that extra emotional punch—and it’s pretty powerful already, wouldn’t you say?—is that McGee’s near death was something he never knew about until recently. Here’s the last paragraph that ties the narrative together in an unforgettable manner:

“The day after last year’s dunk contest in L.A., JaVale called his mother at 8 a.m. and told her he wanted to go to church. Pamela was exhausted, with only five hours sleep, and surprised. But she knew just the place. During the sermon at Faithful Central Bible, JaVale looked over at his mom, tears streaking her cheeks. ‘Why are you crying?’ he asked. There, for the first time, Pamela told him about the clinic and the beach and the reason she cannot get all that upset about alley-oops gone awry. ‘For me,’ she told her son, ‘you’ve been such a blessing.’”

Wow!!

Categories: Life