A former NBA star is coming to Harford County this weekend, preaching his story at an Edgewood church.
Billy Thompson, a former Los Angeles Laker, will be preaching at multiple services at Edgewood Assembly of God from Sunday, Oct. 9 through Tuesday, Oct. 11.
He will speak at the 10:30 a.m. and 7 p.m. Sunday services and at 7 p.m. on Monday and Tuesday evenings, according to a press release. His appearance at the Edgewood church fell together, the church's pastor, Stephen Schuessler, said Thursday.
One of Schuessler's former classmates from Bible college knew Thompson and suggested that Schuessler get in contact with the former basketball star about coming to Edgewood Assembly of God, at 803 Edgewood Road, to do a series of services.
Since announcing Thompson's visit, Schuessler said they have received "great response" from the community and local businesses.
"Our people at our church are very excited at the prospect of a former NBA player coming to our church here for three days," he said. "There's been a lot of enthusiasm generated through this event."
In his basketball career, Thompson led his high school team to the New Jersey State Championships, led his college team, the Louisville Cardinals, to the Division I NCAA Championship and in his rookie year with the Los Angeles Lakers, won the NBA championship, according to the release.
By bringing Thompson to Edgewood, Schuessler said he hopes to encourage the community, especially those in the younger generation.
As a famous athlete, Thompson can appeal to the young people, Schuessler said, and show students what their own potential is and how they can apply themselves academically and "see their dreams come true."
Thompson's message is "transformational," Schuessler said, and he believes it can bring encouragement and make an impression on the community. Thompson preaches about cultural transformation in the 21st century, he added, and what a relationship with Jesus Christ can do in a person's life.
The event is free, according to the press release, but a "love offering" will be taken in each service for Thompson. He will also be at the Open Door Café on Saturday, Oct. 8, Schuessler said, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. for a meet and greet.
Thompson will be speaking to Edgewood High School students on Tuesday as well, Schuessler said.
Overall, Schuessler said, Thompson is a role model with a "very inspiring [and] motivating message."
"We just want to see people in need of hope and encouragement life by his message and encouraged to rise above adversity," he said.