CHICAGO—When Bob Love visited Midtown Center for Boys on Thursday, theChicago Bulls legend told more than 300 boys about how he overcame his life’s shortcomings through hard work and motivation.
However, Bob Love added in an exclusive first-hand interview that the Lord Jesus Christ was essential to overcome his severe stuttering and employment problems following his decorated 11-year NBA career.
“Faith’s the only way I made it,” the 69-year-old Love said enthusiastically. “I was brought up in the church. I believe without the Lord in your life, you can’t accomplish anything. All of us one time or other are going to get knocked down. If you don’t know how to fall on your knees sometime to ask for forgiveness, you can’t make it in life.”
After Bob Love retired from a back injury in 1977, the ambidextrous three-time All Star couldn’t find reliable employment despite his food and nutrition degree from Southern University (Baton Rogue, Louisiana).
Going from an NBA star to a minimum-wage worker was difficult, but Bob Love needed to care for his first wife and four kids no matter what.
The 6’8” Love went from job to job in construction, bars, catering, and even washed dishes and bused tables for a Seattle Nordstrom department store for $4.45 an hour.
People and NBA athletes mocked Bob Love about his fall from grace. They would question how could he lower himself to serve others and waste his opportunities.
Bob Love prayed to God to give him the ability to speak. God answered his prayers as John Nordstrom offered to pay for Love’s speech therapy with Susan Hamilton.
Hamilton’s coaching helped Bob Love learn how to breath properly through his mouth and let his words come out instead of holding his breath.
“It was very difficult as a bus boy, but I was motivated and I didn’t let anything stop me,” Love said. “That’s what you got to do in life. You’ve got to go over that hurdle.”
Speech therapy to Bob Love is a gift from God. He has used God’s gift of speech to motive young people to pursue their education and achieve their dreams.
As the Chicago Bulls Director of Community Affairs since 1992, Bob Love makes countless appearances at schools, charity events, basketball clinics and non-for-profit agencies like Midtown sharing his story.
A Southern Baptist, Bob Love said his favorite Biblical quotes are “Honor your father and your mother and your days shall be long and fruitful” (Ephesians 6:2-3) and “be careful what you pray for” (Psalm 106: 14-15; Numbers 11: 32-33).
“I prayed to be able to speak and now they can’t stop me from speaking,”he mirthfully laughed.
Bob Love said he “loves to praise the Lord” (Psalm 107: 1, 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18) and goes to all church services, including Catholic Mass.
“The whole world needs to get close to Jesus,” he said. “Whenever these terrorist attacks happen or these young men get shot in our neighbors, the world needs faith.”