By Joseph Phillips
Former NBA legend and Chicago’s very own Terry Cummings visited Bailly STEM Academy in Gary, on Friday, January 28. Cummings, an ordained minister for over 40 years, spoke to a group of students about their value in the community and the need for future leaders.
According to Principal Malline Morris’ staff, Cummings was a part of the school’s History Maker Series. The group will honor several different leaders throughout the month of February.
“I have been fortunate that I came from the inner city of Chicago,” said Cummings to a group of 458 students, grades 6 through 8. “But I’ve learned one of the most valuable lessons in leaving Chicago, [Is} that everyone here has an opportunity as a jewel. You are priceless.”
Cummings reveals in his bio that he actually wanted to be a professional hockey player growing up, and had not attempted playing competitive basketball until he experienced an unexpected high school growth-spurt. Cummings shared that around the age of 16, his love for the game of basketball began to grow.
As an ordained minister, Cummings also shared a Biblical passage with the students on the prophet Jeremiah.
“There is a word from the Book of Jeremiah, who was an Old Testament prophet [in the Bible]. He said that God knows the thoughts, or it is interpreted in Hebrew: “He knows the plans that He thinks concerning us [says the Lord], plans to prosper you and not to harm you [Jeremiah 29:11].”
Cummings has three sons, Antonio, T. J., and Shawn. He attended the event with his wife at the invitation of his aunt, Mary Thomas, a teacher at Bailly STEM Academy. He has been an ordained Pentecostal Minister since 1977 and performed service at the wedding of former teammate Sean Elliott.
On April 4, 1985, Cummings sang the national anthem in Milwaukee before playing in a home game versus the Detroit Pistons. He received a standing ovation from the crowd.
Cummings’ Legendary Basketball Career:
Cummings’ first stop as a basketball player was at Carver High School in Chicago. He played his college career at DePaul University, located in the city as well.
During his 18 seasons as a professional basketball player Cummings played for several teams in the NBA, including the San Diego Clippers (1982–1984), Milwaukee Bucks (1984–1989, 1996), San Antonio Spurs (1989–1995), Seattle SuperSonics (1996–1997), Philadelphia 76ers (1997–1998), New York Knicks (1998), and the Golden State Warriors (1999– 2000).
His 84-85 Bucks team was featured in the NBA 2K video game series.
Joseph Phillips is the Sports Editor for the Chicago Crusader Newspaper. He is a Chicago native, who has been a sports writer for over 17 years. He also hosts the SC Media News and Sports Network Q&A radio show on WHPK 88.5 FM Chicago. He can be reached at [email protected].
Joseph Phillips is the Sports Editor for the Chicago Crusader Newspaper. He is a Chicago native, who has been a sports writer for over 17 years. He also hosts the SC Media News and Sports Network Q&A radio show on WHPK 88.5 FM Chicago.