NBA PLAYERS oftenbestow gifts upon their parents--cars, houses, jewels--but Michael Redd reallyfound that special something for his dad. Shortly after signing a six-year, $90million contract with the Bucks last summer, the 6'6" guard bought hisfather, James, a 500-seat church in Columbus, Ohio. "That was his heart'sdesire," says Michael, 26, who as a kid played countless hours ofbasketball with his father, a former point guard at Columbus's CapitalUniversity. "When you get," says the younger Redd, "it's alwaysgood to give."
James Redd, 50,worked in a Pepsi bottling plant in Columbus, where Michael grew up with hisparents (his mother, Haji, was a schoolteacher) and his younger sister,Michelle. Shortly before Michael was born, James began studying to become aminister. In 1991, four years after he was ordained, James founded thePhiladelphia Deliverance Church of Christ (so named because Philadelphia meansbrotherly love in Greek) in a storefront in a poor neighborhood on the westside of town. There, James preached to about 25 congregants on Sundays. At age12 Michael began playing drums in the church band, and he later promised hisfather that he would make the NBA and buy him a proper church building. When heactually did it, James says, "I was shocked." Since the church moved inJune to its new location in a middle-class residential area, about 20 milesfrom the old storefront, Sunday attendance has risen to 300.
Michael hasvisited and drummed at Philadelphia Deliverance three times this season("He has to go out the back or side door," to avoid being mobbed byfans, James says), and he has used his celebrity to book three-timeGrammy-winning gospel singer Kirk Franklin to perform at the church later thisyear. Michael says he may want to take over for his father after retiring fromthe NBA--"Preaching and teaching is something I want to do." For now,James invokes Michael's journey from second-round draft pick to All-Star toinspire his congregants. Says James, "We use Michael as an example for theyoung people, to show them that if you strive for your dreams and put Godfirst, anyone can make it."
[This articlecontains a table. Please see hardcopy of magazine or PDF.]
The Pop Culture Grid
|How do olympicstars fit in?||Michelle Kwan is ...||Favorite website?||What did you eat for breakfast this morning?||Would you go on Dancing with the Stars?||Song that pumps you up?||Dumbest thing you ever did in the snow?||Most interesting thing you brought to Turin?|
|STEVE HOLCOMB Bobsled pilot||Short||bobteamusa.com "of course"||A real small plate of runny eggs||As long as I don't have to dance||Heroes by Tiesto||Wrote my name and spelled it wrong||A portable scanner|
|SARAH PARSONS Hockey forward||Amazing at figure skating||ralphlauren.com||Oatmeal, yogurt and a banana||Definitely, although I am horrible at it||Listen To Your Heart by D.H.T.||Almost snowmobiled into a road sign||My cowboy boots|
|CHAD HEDRICK Speedskater||Gracious for giving up her spot||tonyhawk.com||Spaghetti. They were out of eggs||No, but I'd like to be a judge||Grillz by Nelly||On ice: debut with national team, wore a helmet||Lucky fortunes from fortune cookies|
|DICK BUTTON Broadcaster||A great friend, champion and thoughtful lady||No answer||Prunes to keep my timing regular||As the star or the klutz? I'd be a better klutz||The U.S. national anthem||Piddle my name in the snowbank in Chinese||An appetite for Italian cooking|