Show Me My Daddy

June 17, 1998

As the NBA playoffs wind down, it's time to post the stats. Top scorer was Michael Jordan with more than 28 points per game. The top rebounder: Dennis Rodman who pulled down over 1200 rebounds. And the leader in assists was Washington Wizards' Rod Strickland who was able to dish off more than 800 times.

But there's one more statistic, and Shawn Kemp of the Cleveland Cavaliers is the champ. He is the NBA league leader in the number of children fathered out of wedlock. He has seven.

But this commentary isn't just about Shawn Kemp. How I wish he was an isolated case. As a recent Sports Illustrated article points out he has lots of company. Larry Johnson of the New York Knicks has sired five children by four women. Latrell Sprewell, the coach-choker, had three children by three women before he turned 21.

And the list goes on and on. Patrick Ewing, Juwan Howard, Jason Kidd, Stephon Marbury, Hakeen Olajuwon, Gary Payton, Scotte Pippen, Isiah Thomas, and Larry Bird also have children out of wedlock. Most have been the subject of paternity-related lawsuits. Apparently while the ball players are saying "show me the money," their kids are saying "show me my daddy."

How widespread is this? Well, the Sports Illustrated article estimates that there is probably one out-of-wedlock child for every NBA player. I like the comment from one of those players with no out-of-wedlock births. A.C. Green of the Dallas Mavericks said, "As professional athletes, we are role models, whether we like it or not. The question is whether we're going to be good ones or bad ones."

That's the question isn't it. Will the NBA stars act like stars and role models or will they act like jerks and irresponsible fathers?

I'm Kerby Anderson of Probe Ministries, and that's my opinion.

© 1998 Probe Ministries International