Today I watched a great 30 for 30 video on Shawn Bradley that described his “lackluster” NBA career. Although his career wasn’t as good as what everyone hyped it up to be when he was drafted, he was an excellent player and lasted over 10 years and finished in the top 15 all-time for shots blocked.
One thing that I always respected from afar with Shawn Bradley was that he always seemed to put his faith first. He did not enter the NBA draft when he could have in order to serve a full-time mission to Australia. Also, when he was a player, he tried his best to be faithful as well. In the short documentary, he describes being fined for not going to a strip club with the team for a meeting because it was against his belief system.
I had a chance to meet him in the early ’90s and say a few words and stand next to him. I was in Jr High and he was attending BYU at the time. He was giving a talk to all the LDS youth in the region and it was very inspiring for me as a youth to hear a famous Mormon standing up for his beliefs.
Other Famous Mormons I’ve Met
Watching the documentary and reflecting on my experience with meeting Shawn Bradley caused me to reflect on other famous Mormons I’ve met. Here are a few more:
When I was in high school I competed in ballroom dance. While I was at a large dance competition at BYU, Steve Young was the MC of the event. I had the privilege of shaking hands with him and asking him a few questions about himself. If it were today, I would have taken a selfie with him!
Gordon B Hinckley
I only met Gordon B Hinckely one time and that was before he became the LDS Church President. It was in the early ’90s at a large conference and I was fortunate enough to be able to shake his hand and say a few words.
When I was 18 and preparing to serve a mission, he was highlighted in 60 minutes and did an excellent job of answering tough questions. It was very inspiring for me as a youth and his great, positive attitude was infectious during the whole time he was President.
When I was getting ready to leave to fly to Germany on my mission, I was companions with his grandson. He had requested that his grandson visit him in his office at temple square and extended the invitation for me to visit with him. The only problem was that my family had traveled hours to come and see me off at the airport and I was afraid that I wouldn’t get to see them if I visited President Hinckley so I declined the offer. When I told my family about it, they said “I would have gone and visited the Prophet!” Looking back on things, I sort of wish I would have done it because I could have seen my family still. But hindsight is always 20/20 as they say!
I volunteered for the Romney presidential campaign in 2012 in Washington State. When he came to visit our state, I wanted to meet him in person, so I took the whole family with me and drove an hour. It was very awesome seeing him in person and although there were a lot of body guards and everything, I was able to go and shake hands with him briefly and say a few words as he thanked me for volunteering for the cause.
When I was living in Utah I went to a party in Salt Lake City at this huge mansion. I don’t even know whose house it was, but it was one of those things where word spread and a friend invited a friend and so on. The music was going and everyone was dancing when I noticed a big crowd gathering around me…including more girls. I wasn’t doing anything special and wondered what was going on. I then realized it wasn’t me everyone was gathering around for. Rather, it was Alex Boye. I had never heard anything about him at the time and he was basically right behind me. I basically did one of those “What’s up?” deals that guys who don’t know each other do and kept dancing. It wasn’t until after the party that I realized he was a former pop star and since then, he’s become a pretty famous LDS musician.
Here’s a most recent song that I really like that he did in collaboration with The Piano Guys:
Dallin H Oaks
Just a few years ago, Dallin H Oaks came and visited our stake. When he gives official talks at General Conference, he seems very calculated and serious, so I was surprised at how jovial and funny he is in person. He answered a lot of open questions and just had a lot of fun with the crowd and it was great!
L Tom Perry
When I was on my mission, L Tom Perry visited us. Just like with Elder Oaks, I was very impressed with how personable and close to the Spirit he was, while being fun and jovial at the same time. I learned a lot from him in a pretty intimate setting of only about 100 missionaries. We spent about 4 hours together and each one of us had the chance to meet with him afterwards. He’s very tall!
I’ve shared with you a few of the most famous Mormons I’ve met. Now it’s your turn. Who are some of the most famous Mormons you’ve met and how did you meet them?