Memphis Grizzlies’ Pondexter keeps ‘faith-based, family-first attitude’comment (0)
May 17, 2012
Quincy Pondexter didn’t always mind his Ps and Qs while growing up in a California church where his grandparents were pastors.
Despite the watchful eye of Charles and Bess Gooch, both ordained ministers, Pondexter said, “I remember being that kid in the pews at church clowning around.”
A shooting guard/small forward for the Memphis Grizzlies, Pondexter remembers more.
“My family instilled in my heart to always have faith. I was really blessed to grow up the way I did. Not a lot of people have that background. I keep a faith-based, family-first attitude and it translates to the game of basketball.”
Faith has been his central position as he plays among the best athletes in the world. Drafted 26th overall in the 2010 NBA Draft, Pondexter is averaging 5.7 points and 1.7 rebounds per game while logging an average of 17 minutes.
As a senior at the University of Washington, he was first team All-Pac-10, has the school record for the number of games played (136) and is third in career scoring (1,786 points).
Pondexter, 24, was drafted by the Oklahoma City Thunder and immediately traded to the New Orleans Hornets. The Hornets traded him to the Grizzlies in December 2011.
The Grizzlies’ 41–25 regular season record provided a franchise-best winning percentage (.621) and gave them home-court advantage for the first time in history. They opened the first round of the Western Conference series against the Los Angeles Clippers on April 29.
At press time, the Grizzlies were down 2–3 in the series.
Pondexter loves basketball but there is something he loves more.
“I love being a Christian. I know I have accepted Christ as my Savior. Jesus means the world to me. He sacrificed His life for our sins. Christ is the best,” said Pondexter, 24.
“As I get older, I feel like I am getting closer and closer to God in my faith because I know without Him there would be no me.”
As he reads his Bible for focus and inspiration, he has seen examples of Christ overcoming tribulation.
“You can grow from there,” said Pondexter, a member of Family Community Church in Fresno, Calif. “I know the Lord is there for me. He’s been with me through some of my best moments and some of my worst moments.”
What has made him good in basketball is versatility, nonstop resilience and defense.
“He is definitely a great defender,” said Grizzlies guard Tony Allen. “He can knock down threes and he is definitely a hard worker.”
Pondexter has impressed Grizzlies forward Zach Randolph by his professionalism and no-complaints attitude. “Coach (Lionel Hollins) is hard on him,” Randolph said. “He understands Coach wants him to be better. He doesn’t argue back. ... I am proud of him, real proud of him.”
Termed an encourager, “a great teammate” and “quiet” by Allen, Pondexter, who is called “Q” by teammates and coaches, engages himself in the game.
“I am someone who dedicates his heart to the game. I have been given this opportunity. I want to make the most of it,” he said. “Growing up, you realize you don’t take anything for granted.”
Memphis forward Rudy Gay said Pondexter gives it his all.
“I had the chance to go and hang with his family and see how authentic, faith-oriented people they are. I see where he gets it from,” Gay said.
To use the NBA as a platform for his faith is an opportunity to speak “volumes” to “worlds of people.
“They want to know who you are. They want to be a part of you because they love the game of basketball,” Pondexter said.
“I want to be a role model. ... I feel like those are my best times when I am right morally and my heart is pure. I am always going to try to do things the right way. ... I would want people to say that I have the best heart in the world and that I care about others, that I am humble and that I am a good guy.”
Pondexter’s favorite Bible verse, Proverbs 3:5–6, has fueled his basketball journey: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight.”
From the night he was drafted by Oklahoma City but immediately traded to New Orleans, to arriving in Memphis, this verse has been what Pondexter has lived by, he said.
“Our paths are already written out,” Pondexter said.
If Memphis plays on, winning an NBA championship is not Pondexter’s most important goal.
“I think everyone’s is to get to heaven,” he said. “I think that is the best goal.”
And Allen said, “I can’t really talk about another man’s faith but obviously God has been good to him. The sky is the limit for him.”