JaVale McGee is one of the most electric players in the NBA. But the high-flying Denver Nuggets superstar was 72 hours away from being aborted before God decided to intervene.
His mother, Pamela, who herself was a professional basketball player, recounted the experience in an interview with Sports Illustrated:
On a Saturday morning in the spring of 1987, Pamela McGee sat on the shore at Dockweiler State Beach in Los Angeles, 72 hours from a scheduled abortion. “Do you want to be pregnant?” the counselor at the clinic had asked her. “No,” McGee replied. She was a single, 24-year-old professional basketball player, and she could not take maternity leave. And even if she could, she couldn’t imagine hauling an infant to Italy and parking the stroller next to the bench. But as McGee looked out over the Pacific, she began to reconsider. “I prayed and prayed and prayed and felt like I heard a voice from God,” McGee says. “He was telling me, ‘This is your gift.’ ” The next day she went to Faithful Central Bible Church in Inglewood, and the pastor delivered a sermon about not aborting one’s blessings. O.K., God, McGee thought. You don’t have to beat it into my head. She called the clinic to cancel, and on Jan. 19, 1988, gave birth to a boy with physical abilities that would border on the supernatural.
Last year, McGee’s mother finally told her son how close she was to never having him at the same church where she heard from a higher power:
The day after last year’s dunk contest in L.A., JaVale called his mother at 8 a.m. and told her he wanted to go to church. Pamela was exhausted, with only five hours sleep, and surprised. But she knew just the place. During the sermon at Faithful Central Bible, JaVale looked over at his mom, tears streaking her cheeks. “Why are you crying?” he asked. There, for the first time, Pamela told him about the clinic and the beach and the reason she cannot get all that upset about alley-oops gone awry. “For me,” she told her son, “you’ve been such a blessing.”