Lakers Champion Visits Clovis Church

FRESNO, Calif.

Mike Penberthy grew up in Fresno.

After an eight-year professional career playing basketball he is now a shooting instructor in the NBA and spreads the word of God.

Fathers at Northside Christian Church received a special treat from a valley native and NBA champion Mike Penberthy.

The fact that his visit landed only days after the Lakers won the championship was pure coincidence.

"We planned this over a year ago. We didn't know the Celtics and the Lakers were gonna be going down a 7-game stretch -the Lord did!"

Penberthy graduated from the master's college, a small school in Santa Clarita with a degree in biblical studies and his dream was playing ball in the NBA.

"Averaged about 28-points a game my senior and put myself on the map there," Mike Penberthy

After by-passing the draft he worked his way onto the Lakers bench where he averaged almost 5-points a game. Points that helped the team to their 13th NBA title and this diamond-studded championship ring.

"Playing with hall of famers Kobe and Shaq for a hall of fame coach Phil Jackson, you can only help but learn from a guy like that and you can only help but enjoy playing with great players like that."

Penberthy was released after two years with the Lakers and finished his career in Europe.

This valley native says he experienced highs and lows as a professional athlete but one thing remained constant.

"It is easy to lose hope, lose faith, but my faith in Christ grounded and the word of God really helped me remain strong," Penberthy said.

That's the message church leaders wanted families to come away with on father's day.

"Even at the top of the mountain, athletically, there was still something missing from his life and that was Christ and to have my boys see that it was really important," Brian Mimura said.

"I got to wear his ring and that was great! it was a lot big though," Marilyn Williams said.

Penberthy has since been inducted into the Hoover High School and masters college halls of fame.

After all of his travels he, his wife and three children call Fresno home.

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