IN THE NEWS

Minister preaches life lessons to men's hoops team
STATE PRESS. By Nick Piecoro.1999. About thirty minutes before practice is held for the ASU men`s basketball team a half dozen players and a 36-year-old man gather in the locker room to talk strategy. But they`re not talking about when to set screens or how to shoot a jump shot - they're talking about a strategy for life. Ordained minister Larry Pettiford comes to almost every practice and holds a team chapel, where he and players read and discuss passages from the Bible.  "I really try to teach them about choices, decisions and temptations," Pettiford said. But he doesn't force any of the players to come. He leaves the door open for anyone interested. "Hopefully, I 'm developing their moral character and developing their basketball skills," Coach Evans said. "And hopefully, I'm developing their spirituality.  Larry is a huge part of developing the spirituality."  Evans realizes that his job isn't to force players to go to church, so only those who want to go to team chapel go.  Pettiford acts as a father figure for some of the players, encouraging them to go to church and the team chapels.  "He's there as a conscience for them," Evans said.  "But I'm not in a position where I can push guys to do that, but Larry can.  He can encourage them.  We're trying to do everything we can to develop the whole person."
 
ASU star finally hitting jackpot after troubled start
The Arizona Republic By Richard Obert. 2000.  It was a nightmarish start for a senior guard expected to carry a young Arizona State basketball team, and Eddie House, exasperated, was in a hurry to find peace.  "Where's Brother Larry?" he asked assistant coach Russ Pennell.  House had hit rock bottom after an 0-for-16 shooting night Dec. 7 against Brigham Young.  Larry Pettiford, the team chaplain, is House's confidante, a man House knew could help find answers.  They met, as they usually do, at Mrs. White's Golden Rule Cafe in downtown Phoenix for a little soul food and soul searching.  Pettiford opened the Bible and began reading scriptures.  "He used to take shooting for granted," Pettiford said.  "He said it was a gift from God.  He said, "When I come out, I'm going to come out in a big way."  I said, "Eddie, stay humble.  God will be the one to lift you up in your glory."  With Brother Larry's help, the stay at rock bottom was a short one, followed by glory in large doses.  A school-record 46 points against San Diego State, then a Pac-10 record-tying 61 against California.
 
ASU chaplain speaks
The Arizona Republic.  2001  The Jesus Chapel Bookstore will host Larry Pettiford, chaplain of ASU men's basketball team.  Pettiford presents his testimony "From Prison to Victory" and will sign his first CD.
 
Ex-Giant turns his life around
Chronicle Tribune. Jim Brunner  The 1979 semistate championship game is one that will live in infamy with Marion Giant basketball fans.  A forgotten stat concerning the Argos game is what might have been.  Larry Pettiford had the game won for the Giants and would have been the true hero.  In the fourth quarter, the senior forward put on a Michael Jordan-like performance.  He made 7 of 7 shots, including a turnaround jumper with seven seconds left to give Marion a short-lived 83-82 lead.  Had Marion held on for the victory, Pettiford would still be a household name 22 years later for his last-second heroics.  But Pettiford is remembered for something more important - turning his life around.  After losing to Argos, Pettiford's life began to spin out of control.  An ill-fated attempt at college basketball led Pettiford to Arizona, where he quickly turned to a life of crime.  It was while in prison that the former Marion Giant star gave his life to Christ.  The downhill spiral was over, and Pettiford was ready to take on the Argos Dragons of the real world.  The rest is history, and today Pettiford is the head chaplain for the Arizona State basketball team as well as a very accomplished motivational speaker.  Pettiford has put his personal testimony on a CD.  While Marion has justly honored many of its truly great basketball stars, it's time to embrace the fallen hero, who through his conversion to Christ has found a new life outside basketball.  Larry, God bless.
 
The Good Samaritan
The Arizona Republic By Paul Coro 2006  As long as we're in a good mood, we should pass this on:  Larry Pettiford, pastor for the aptly named Church of the Good Samaritan, near the Arizona State campus, was delighted when one of his former parishioners, Ike Diogu, left tickets for him and his wife when Diogu and Golden State visted Phoenix to play the Suns.  After the game, Diogu went right through a crowd of friends waiting for him to hug the Pettifords and tell them he had something for the church.  "It's not much," he said.  It was a check.  "It really touched me," Pettiford said.  "That's the kind of heart he's got.  It's a huge blessing for us.  It's not about the money.  It's about a kid who didn't forget what the church did for him."