Why Kentucky Basketball Star Oscar Tshiebwe Plays to Honor His Earthly and Heavenly Father
By Movieguide® Staff
Oscar Tshiebwe and the Kentucky Wildcats are ready for their first game in the NCAA Tournament March Madness on March 17.
The team extended their national record for most March Madness appearances to 59 and received the No. 2 seed in the East Region.
Leading the way for the Wildcats this season is their 6-foot9-inch center, Tshiebwe, who won SEC Player of the Year.
However, with hopes of making it to the NBA, Tshiebwe knows that he cannot win alone.
“That’s why – God – and I told him, ‘I want to be NBA player. I want to get there. I want to help other people and help my family. But I cannot get there by myself,'” he told CBN.
Tshiebwe said that his father modeled service and selfless giving, despite their humble means while living in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
“I used to ask him, ‘You don’t have enough, why you trying to help everybody like them?’ He said, ‘No, because that’s what God want us to do because everything I have, I’m not going to take anything. I gotta help.'”
Although soccer sparked Tshiebwe’s love for sports, he credits God for steering him towards basketball.
“I grew up with soccer. It’s the most popular sport in Africa. I play since I was a kid and I had a, like dream, myself might become big one day in soccer. But it turned out from something else, God had something else bigger than what I was thinking.”
Tshiebwe’s faith not only helped him to trust God with his career, but also supported him through the great tragedy of losing his father.
In 2012, Tshiebwe learned that his father had been murdered.
“The day, what I remember, because he told me a lot of good things before he passed, like 30 minutes before he passed he said, ‘Grab a chair.’ I grab a chair and I sit right there and he started talking to me,” Tshiebwe recalled. “He said, ‘Don’t ever forget about God no matter where you go because – don’t lose God because when you lose God, you lose your life. Always listen to what I’m telling you. You gotta take care of your family.’ I was like, ‘why are you telling me all this?’ But he was like – ‘I’m just telling you because you are the only kid always listen to what I’m telling you.'”
Despite his father’s wisdom, Tshiebwe said that his initial response was anger towards God for his father’s death.
“I was mad at God. I asked God, ‘Why this has to happen?’ I said, ‘If God, He really want good people to help each other. So why you taking my dad so fast?’ because my daddy was helping a lot of people that did not have enough,” he said. “I was mad, but the more I spent time with God, asking God questions, He revealed, like He told me why He always taking good people and He always let bad people to live longer.”
He continued: “I said, ‘No, maybe I need to give my heart to God. Maybe I need to pay attention,’ because my daddy always told me, ‘No matter what happens in your life, don’t let that thing affect your relationship with God, because God has great plans for your life and your dream,’ because he use to tell me, ‘His purpose for your life is to give you hope and good future.'”
Ever since his conversion, Tshiebwe held onto the words of his earthly father and the words from his heavenly father.
“I say, ‘What is the – why the Bible say, anything is possible, but everybody here told me it’s impossible for me to get there?’ I say, ‘I will stick with the Word of God. I don’t care what people say. I’m going to stick with the Word of God. If I’m going to fail, I’m going to fail with the Word of God,'” he said when people told him he would never make Kentucky’s team.
“When I stuck with the Word of God about everything is possible to those who spend the time, work harder, and believe in God, I’m in Kentucky right now,” he added. “That’s why I know I can do more things with God because everything God has given us is possible.”
As Tshiebwe seeks to succeed in this year’s NCAA Tournament and eventually the NBA, he said that he wants to honor God above all else.
“Beside playing in NBA, doing everything like -I want to be a speaker. I want to speak for God,” he said. “I want to stand and like, help a lot of different people. I want to go back home and help. Help. I want to be the example of what my daddy did. My daddy did from not having a lot of money, but if I have money, I think I can do better. I can do better. I’m going to help somebody else. I’m going to – I’m going to try to change the world.”
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