A week ago, former University of Maryland basketball star (1978-1981) Ernie Graham spoke to the guys in our chapel. Ernie, who played with both Albert King and Buck Williams, left College Park in 1981 as University of Maryland all-time #2 in steals, #3 in assists, #4 in career points, #4 in field goals made, and #15 in rebounds.
Baltimore native and Dunbar graduate, Graham’s wonderful NBA career never happened because of his struggle with drug addiction. He did manage a successful career playing professional basketball for 14 years internationally.
Sixteen years ago, the reality of being a father became a critical factor in Ernie’s decision to stop using. Having had a personal spiritual awakening, he made a recovery commitment which has led to a renewed family focus and his Get the Message foundation, where Ernie shares honestly about his own struggle with addiction and challenges young athletes and at-risk youth.
Ernie’s message to our guys was clear, he was where they are, he found answers, and they can, too. He has made amends with those he has needed to do so and has moved on. As an aside, that day Ernie also shared with us some very meaningful things related to his past career which had started in motion just the day before.
I am very happy for Ernie Graham and the victories he is experiencing. I am also very excited about the hope, answers and empowerment the men of Helping Up Mission have ahead of them.
One Day at a Time,
Pastor Gary Byers
Spiritual Life Director