By worldly standards, Pat Williams is a man who has it all: he’s reached the pinnacle of business success as co-founder of the Orlando Magic, and is now enjoying the fruits of his labor. But following the untimely death of NBA star Kobe Bryant, he’s reflecting on what matters more than his success on earth.
Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter Gianna passed away suddenly after a tragic helicopter crash in Calabasas, California, on Sunday. Their deaths — as well as those of the seven others traveling on the helicopter — have led people to be “really thinking about their own mortality,” Williams said during an appearance this week on “Fox & Friends.”
He asked Fox News host Brian Kilmeade if he could speak to the country about the matter of faith, and the importance of following Jesus:
God knows the minute everybody is gonna come into this world. He also knows the exact minute when we’re gonna depart from this world. He knows.
And in this period, from birth to death, the real issue is: What have we done about Jesus Christ? And by inviting him into our hearts, we’re assured of an eternal destination in heaven.
People are really thinking about their own mortality — I think that’s what’s happened here. And so God’s in control, and Jesus comes into our hearts, and that’s the difference maker.
Williams, who was diagnosed with multiple myeloma in February 2011 and has since gone through numerous rounds of chemotherapy and is in remission, has long taken his Christian faith seriously.
He has even spoken with Bryant about it.
During a 2004 interview on CBN’s “The 700 Club,” Williams said he once gave Bryant, who was devoutly Catholic, a copy of his book, “How to Be Like Jesus,” because the NBA star “expressed, through all of his difficult times, a real openness, I sense, to spiritual things.”
“You’re not an accident dumped down on this earth,” he said at the time. “God really knows you and loves you and cares for you, and that’s why Jesus came into the world — to take care of this problem that we all have called sin. We all know we’ve sinned, but Jesus came to clean it up so that we could forget it after He forgave it and give us a fresh start.”
Following the death of her husband and 13-year-old daughter, Bryant’s wife Vanessa is “relying on her faith” to carry her through this excruciatingly difficult season, friends of the family said.
Please continue to pray for the Bryant family as well as the family and friends who are surrounding them as they grieve such significant losses.