NBA Hall-of-Famer makes visit

ST. MARYS — An NBA Hall-of-Famer spoke to church members and other visitors Sunday at the St. Marys Church of the Nazarene on memory education and applying it to every day life in a personal walk with God.

As the world sees it, the former Ohio State Buckeye and New York Knicks great Jerry Lucas was successful. However, the pro basketball Hall-of-Famer’s goal is not to be remembered for what he did in sports.

Athletically gifted, Lucas won championships at every level, including in high school with Middletown High School, in college with the Ohio State Buckeyes, with Team USA at the 1960 Olympics in Rome and in 1973 with the New York Knicks.

Lucas, of Middletown, scored 14,053 points and had 12,942 rebounds during an 11-year career. He played for the Cincinnati Royals, San Francisco Warriors and the Knicks.

However, despite all of this, Lucas told the church gathering he still felt something was missing after all of those championships.

“I went to a friend and told him something was missing,” Lucas said. “I had no spiritual training.”

The friend told Lucas what was missing was the spiritual part of his life. And Lucas would always feel somewhat incomplete until he fixed it.

“He said a person is made up of mind, body and spirit,” Lucas said. “He said I would always feel like I was out of balance until I fulfilled that need.”

His friend fulfilled a promise by buying Lucas a bible, and the next season he carried it everywhere he went. He read it every chance he got.

Soon after Lucas realized his true calling in life was not to the game of basketball.

Following the next season, Lucas surprised everyone by calling the New York Knicks and informing them of his intent to retire. Since then, Lucas has taken up the role of educator and memory expert.

Lucas became famous for his mneumonic ability. He could take a word apart and spell it alphabetically in seconds. He would memorize phone books or the names of an entire studio audience during a single sitting. He now travels and speaks and teaches his abilities to others to help them improve their memory.

He applied that application to the bible to the congregation Sunday.

For example, in a simple one through 10 list, he quickly taught the congregation a word to go with each number. Shortly thereafter he taught another word to correspond with that word. In minutes, he has taught the congregation simple techniques for what he said would be successful family life.

For example, two was shoe, and the corresponding word was family. He taught those in attendance that they put the shoes on your family as an example to serve one another.

Six was sticks, and the corresponding word was mouth. He taught everyone to carry an imaginary bundle of sticks with them everywhere they go, and anytime they are going to say something they shouldn’t, they put one of the sticks in their mouth.

Lucas has had constant calls to come back to the sport that made him famous, but he is not interested in the least.

“I’ve had calls to be a broadcaster or other jobs,” Lucas said, “but this is my calling. I only speak in churches. I am successful today because I am obedient to God.”