GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - Temple Baptist Church in Gulfport got a special visit from an athlete with a message. It was a dazzling display of basketball feats mixed with a message of hope and positivity.
Youth pastor Ty McIntyre knew inviting Harlem Legend Jason "White Shadow" Gibbons would be a hit. And he also wanted his students to learn a lesson about setting goals in life.
"You're going to have to start right now making decisions to reach them," said McIntyre.
Bringing Gibbons to speak gave McIntyre a chance to provide his youth group with a good positive example to live by.
"They're searching for somebody. They want somebody to look. And I think if I can give them a role model that knows what he has in life and knows what it is to make a life for himself, then that will help them to see and make good decisions in their life," said McIntyre.
Gibbons, who has a long resume of athletic achievement on the court, now uses his talents as an outreach tool. He will tell you that he's worked with the likes of Michael Jordan, Nike, ESPN, Disney, and many others. But his greatest joy comes from what he's doing now.
It wasn't long ago that Gibbons said he was fighting for his life in a hospital after an injury. He now uses the testimony of his survival to spread a Christian message of hope as he travels to different schools and churches around the country.
"It's been great to be able to help inspire people, encourage people, through basketball," said Gibbons.
With a few stunts and tricks, and a little audience participation, it was easy to see that Gibbons felt right at home on the court.
"This basketball has been a key to unlock the door of communication with young people from preschool all the way up to, I go into nursing homes. It means a lot to me," said Gibbons.
Gibbons also showed off his skills and spread his message in Pearly River County earlier in the week.