An opportunity was clearly presented to go to Philadelphia as the Business Manager of the 76ers. Then a year after that to Chicago as the General manager of the Chicago Bulls. At this point I’ve spent almost forty-five years directing teams in Orlando, Atlanta, Chicago, Philadelphia, including the 1983 Championship 76ers season. So God has been very good to me. He has kept me in this business of sports.
It was in Spartanburg, SC, which was an affiliate of the Philadelphia Phillies, that I was having great success. We drew attendance records, and every achievement record that could come to a young baseball executive was coming my way. My whole sense of life at that point was that this should be very satisfying and fulfilling and that it should give me an absolute sense of purpose in my life.
I was having all these successes, being recognized for them, and receiving national awards. Everything was going beautifully, but there was an emptiness in my life and I was frustrated. I kept thinking, “There has to be more.” It was amazing how people just started crossing my path in whose life I saw something different. Then finally as I was getting a little bit closer and it was clearer what was going on I ended one day in the office of R. E. Little John, the owner of our team. He was a Godly man. He sat me down and said, “Pat, now’s the time.” He just explained that I needed to make a decision, and right there in his office I made the decision. I didn’t analyze it or think about it anymore. There was a peace that invaded my that had not been there before. There was a sense of purpose. I now understood that God wanted me in the sports business for a reason.
It’s great to be out here in the limelight and to be rubbing shoulders with the game’s greatest. People would recognize most of the names of these great athletes, but at the end of the day I have to answer to the Lord. The question I have to answer is, “Are these great athletes, these great sports figures seeing something in me that I saw in all those people back in 1968 who helped lead me to Christ?” I saw they had a radiance, a joy, a special quality that I didn’t. They had a sense of peace in the middle of the storm. I hope other people see that in me as well.