Basketball Star Paul Miller Goes on the Record about Faith and Career

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Jefferson City native and Blair Oaks High School basketball Star Paul Miller credits his relationship with God as "the most important element in his basketball career" in a recent interview with the Missouri Baptist Convention.

Paul miller is continuing his basketball career in Europe.

Some of the best compliments my teammates have given me are, ‘You’re different,’ or ‘You’re such a positive guy,’ ‘You don’t ever swear,’ and ‘You make me want to be a better person,’ Miller said.

Despite the ongoing pressure to perform at a high level day in and day out, Paul Miller, power forward for the Jeanne d’Arc (JDA) Dijon Basketball team, said it’s his faith in Jesus that has kept his head on straight throughout his professional basketball career.

“I know that he will never leave me or forsake me and that is always a comfort,” said Miller, a former Wichita State University All-American and Blair Oaks High School, Jefferson City standout. “I know that if I woke up one day and basketball was no longer an option, I still have my faith and that this life is not my own. I am here to bring glory to His kingdom and that’s what’s really important.”

Miller, who grew up in a local church affiliated with the Missouri Baptist Convention, accepted Christ when he was just eight years old and says his parents have had the biggest impact on his spiritual life.

“My parents not only taught me, my brother and sister bout the Bible and how to have a relationship with God, they also led by example and showed us every day how to live for Jesus,” Miller said. “My salvation experience was pretty low key and without a lot of commotion, but I will never forget that night and the beginning of my relationship with the Lord.”

Over the course of his career, Miller has played basketball for eight different teams in six different countries. He said despite the challenges of being away from his family for eight to ten months out of the year, the high expectations put on him by general managers and coaches, and the language and culture barriers, he feels blessed by God to have been given the ability to play basketball professionally and explore parts of the world that he otherwise probably never would have seen.

“When I played in Warsaw, Poland, I became friends with a Polish guy who worked with Athletes in Action,” Miller said. “Through him I was able to attend an international church when my schedule permitted. It was great seeing people from all over the world get together to worship God.”

Miller said because of his time on several different teams, he’s had many opportunities to showcase his love of Jesus to his fellow teammates.

“Some of the best compliments my teammates have given me are, ‘You’re different,’ or ‘You’re such a positive guy,’ ‘You don’t ever swear,’ and ‘You make me want to be a better person,’” he said. “Basketball players can be very self-centered and focused on everything in this world and life, putting their hopes and dreams in a game. I’ve tried to show my teammates both through my life and by explaining to them that there is so much more to look forward to … and that the only way to a fulfilled and happy life is through Jesus.”

Though Miller, who is engaged to be married this summer, said he knows his career in basketball won’t last forever, he is confident that God will lead him in whatever direction he is supposed to go. For now, he plans to continue to use the skills God has given him, however long that might be.

“I find His hand working in my life each day and directing me down the path He wants me on,” Miller said. “Everything I have accomplished in basketball has been because of Him and I want to honor and glorify Him through basketball for as long as He needs me to.”

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