NEW YORK — Chris Broussard is dressed in an elegant suit. He sports a friendly smile and looks and acts exactly like the man many love to watch on television.
The 53-year-old Broussard, a basketball analyst for Fox Sports, is passionate about basketball. He’s also passionate about being a Christian, helping Black youth, combating racism and making the world a better place.
It was during a trip to The King’s College in New York City on Oct. 1 when Broussard met with students and alums to talk about the challenges young Black men face in an increasingly secular America and how being a Christian is a step toward a better life. It’s one of many stops Broussard makes during the course of a year.
He sometimes sounds like a preacher, someone who oozes passion. There aren’t too many people out there who could speak with ease about God, Jesus and St. Paul one minute, then pivot and wax on about Michael Jordan, Lebron James and who’s the best dunker in NBA history.
But it’s Broussard’s love for Christ — and his commitment to Bible teachings — that makes him a great spokesman for Christians who work in secular environments.
“Men were created by God to glorify him, to live a certain way,” Broussard said in an interview with ReligionUnplugged.com. “That’s really the only way you will be fulfilled. As men, we try to fulfill that void, that eternity that in our heart; we try to fulfill that with sex, with drugs, with alcohol, with power, with work, success, gambling and a great number of things.”
Broussard’s journey as a journalist and Christian took place nearly at the same time. It was as a senior in college Broussard knew he had a future as a sportswriter, when the Cleveland Plain Dealer, where he had interned, asked him to join the staff after graduation. It was around that time that he also became committed to Christ.
Broussard rose to national prominence as an NBA reporter at The New York Times, where he covered the New York Knicks, as well as the NBA at large from 1998 to 2004. Broussard got his start in sports writing at the Plain Dealer in 1990 before becoming the Cleveland Cavaliers’ beat writer for the Akron Beacon Journal in 1994.
He joined ESPN in 2004, contributing to the network as a reporter across a number of platforms. Broussard is currently an analyst at Fox Sports, where — aside from television — he also co-hosts a radio show, “The Odd Couple,” with Rob Parker.
Born in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Broussard played basketball at Oberlin College, where he graduated with a degree in English. He was raised Catholic — his father had attended seminary in Ohio at one point to become a priest — but Broussard admitted he wasn’t committed to faith by the time he was in college.
“I was raised Catholic,” he said, “but I really didn’t know anything about having a personal relationship with Christ.”
Broussard recalled that he was “running” from Christ when he was a senior in college. Nonetheless, he said there had to be more to life than having a family and a good job.
“There’s got to be more to life than this,” Broussard recalled thinking at the time. “This can’t be what it’s all about.”
In 2013, Broussard generated some controversy after making an appearance on ESPN’s “Outside the Lines.” Broussard was speaking about NBA center Jason Collins becoming the first active player from one of the four major U.S. sports to reveal himself as gay.
“I believe that’s walking in open rebellion to God and to Jesus Christ,” Broussard said at the time. “I would not characterize that person as a Christian, because I don’t think the Bible would characterize them as a Christian.”
Controversy ensued, but Broussard survived the barrage. He eventually left the sports cable network for Fox Sports 1 after being offered a chance to become an on-air analyst.
Broussard has been able to take his years of hard work and fame as a reporter for ESPN and now Fox Sports to highlight the need to help young men, especially African Americans. Broussard is involved in numerous charitable endeavors, including serving as founder and president of The K.I.N.G. Movement, a national Christian men’s organization.
“In a nutshell, it’s a brotherhood that seeks to strengthen men in their daily walks with Christ,” he said.
Broussard said there are currently 20 local chapters — making up what he called “a brotherhood” — throughout the United States that meet once a month. They also hold a national summit as well as events tied to the Super Bowl and NBA All-Star Game.
“At our meetings, we want real talk,” he said. “We’ve had meetings where guys have talked about battling with pornography, battling with alcohol — whatever it might be.”
You can listen to the full podcast with Chris Broussard here.
Clemente Lisi is a senior editor at Religion Unplugged and teaches journalism at The King’s College in New York City. His new book “The FIFA World Cup: A History of the Planet’s Biggest Sporting Event” comes out Oct. 12. Follow him on Twitter @ClementeLisi.
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