Hope for the Hopeless

ESPN analyst brings message of encouragement

By Dave Ficere

“I was walking around neighborhoods in New York City watching kids play basketball, day after day. I saw a lot of hopelessness, a lot of hurt. And there I was, on the outside looking in. A lot of my friends were on the perimeter with me. We wanted to find some way to bless them so that we could reach them. Out of this frustration, Street2Street was born.”

That’s the testimony of Woody Woodfin, Founder and President of Street2Street, who took the basketball games he saw on the streets of New York and organized leagues and tournaments with the goal of reaching inner-city youth with a message of hope and encouragement.

These events are run by a diverse team of urban young people who grew up in the inner cities and still live there. They’ve felt the hopelessness, experienced the danger and know the hardships – and most importantly – know how to reach the kids on the street. Street2Street provides the finances and tools to organize leagues and tournaments and often brings in speakers and motivators who can bring a message of hope and encouragement. One of them is Chris Broussard.

Brossard is a sports analyst for ESPN, mostly covering the NBA and also a columnist for ESPN Magazine and ESPN.com. He can often be seen on ESPN’s NBA Fastbreak as a basketball analyst.

But beyond his “day job,” Chris is a devoted husband, father and Bible-believing Christian – and one who isn’t afraid to share his faith with those who want to hear. He is also the founder of the K.I.N.G. movement – bringing knowledge, inspiration and nurture through God to men everywhere – and especially men of color. His work with K.I.N.G. is a perfect fit with Street2Street’s mission of reaching young men with a message of hope and encouragement.

“I enjoy working with Woody and other Christian men in reaching at-risk kids,” Broussard says. “Basketball and kids are two things I’m interested in and I’ve been able to help with some tournaments.”

“I look at it this way: We’re all in the gospel mission together and K.I.N.G ministers to men and boys, but Street2Street is ministering to boys. We really support Street2Street and the work they’re doing,” he says.

“Fatherlessness is huge in the inner city and in some cities it’s up to 80-90 percent. That – along with all the negatives that brings – are big,” Broussard says, so good role models are needed. “It sounds like a cliché, but it’s really true. There are good people in the hood, but there are a lot of challenges. I became a Christian my senior year in college and came from a good two-parent family, so I was fortunate.”

Broussard realizes many are not so fortunate.

“In the inner city, when a man or boy gives their lives to the Lord, there are still a lot of challenges with jobs, economics, etc.”

And then there’s the perception from those outside the city.

“A lot of times people stereotype people in the inner city, especially people of color,” Broussard says, “and that adds to the challenges these kids face in escaping that environment.”

“We are commissioned by the Lord to reach souls for Christ, but on a societal level, a person’s values and morals change when they come to Christ, which leads to stronger individuals and stronger families and a better society,” Broussard says and he uses his platform at ESPN to get the message out.

“People – and especially boys and men – want to listen to me and hear what I have to say,” he says. “I weave the gospel into my personal story and communicate what made me successful and emphasize that Christ made me successful.”

Broussard has also seen much success as a motivational speaker on topics such as success, leadership, teamwork, African-American uplift and faith-based inspiration.

“Chris Broussard uses his voice and platform to help motivate and inspire others to reach their full potential by dedicating themselves to excellence and perseverance. His wisdom, knowledge and experience continues to be a source of strength and hope – especially for young people,” says NBA Hall of Famer Isaiah Thomas.

To find out more about Street2Street, visit their website at street2street.com. Learn more about the work of the K.I.N.G. movement at kingmovement.com.