March 2, 2006 | A man who holds the “Iron Man” title in the NBA for the most consecutive games played, who was a first round selection in the L.A. Lakers college draft, who has three championship rings, was in the NBA finals four times, and whose engaging handsome smile accompanies athleticism that is nothing short of phenomenal...

What is the likelihood that this describes a man who has adored only one woman, so much so that he chose to be loyal to her even before he ever met her? Who loved her so much that he turned down every other woman who pounded on his door during 16 years in the NBA? And in loyalty to his love, was abstinent until his wedding day at age 38?

Do you think that man exists?

He does. His name is A.C. Green, former forward for the L.A. Lakers. And his one love is Veronique, a woman who, like her husband AC, has a heart of gold, a generous spirit, and determination of steel.

A.C. Green reached out to young people from the very start of his career, and has never stopped. In founding the A.C. Green Youth Foundation and Club AC, his impact off the court has been as impressive as his athletic career on the court. His tireless determination to help guide the vulnerable and impressionable kids of our communities reveals that his loving heart is as powerful as his game.

He says about Club AC, “The A.C. Green Youth Foundation is about building character, building strong bodies and strong minds, winning and losing with dignity, teamwork, and sacrifice. We provide programs that ignite dreams and an abstinence program that says it's okay to wait until marriage. In short, we are building leaders. Leaders who, in their individual capacity, no matter what their station in life, will be able to stand up for what is right instead of wrong, and in fact, will be their brother's keeper…to influence the younger generation, both male and female, to fulfill their potential by tenaciously pursuing their dreams in accordance with their gifts and talents.”

A.C. Green recently wrote a letter in support of abstinence in response to an article written by Arthur Caplan, Director of the Center for Bioethics, University of Pennsylvania. Caplan expressed strong opposition to abstinence efforts. I invite you to read AC's wonderful response on the foundation’s website.

With the permission of A.C. Green's foundation, I include some portions of AC's letter here.

“…as the founder of a national abstinence organization, and as a husband who married his wife as a virgin (at the age of 38), I ask that you thoughtfully consider my response.

The opinions you put forth may be popular in academia; however, history has certainly taught us that popular ideas are often wrong. Therefore, I think we can agree that the evidence – and the truth – should dictate our conclusion...

You mention that 45 percent of U.S. teens have had sex by the time they reach 18. Simple subtraction tells me that means 55 percent have not.

...a survey of 1,000 girls conducted by Emory University found that of a dozen possible sex education topics, the most popular (chosen by 84 percent of the respondents) was more information on how to say "no" to a boyfriend's requests for sex without losing the boyfriend. Among sexually active teens, 8 out of 10 girls and 6 out of 10 boys say that they wish they had waited to . Parents also weigh in on the side of abstinence. According to the Heritage Foundation, approximately 85 percent of parents believe that teaching about abstinence should be emphasized as much as, or more than, teaching about contraception. Only 8 percent believe that promoting contraception is more important than abstinence.

...You argue against the effectiveness of abstinence, yet it is 100% reliable. You say we can’t expect teenagers to be abstinent, yet I made it through adolescence (and 16 NBA seasons!) unscathed. My Foundation has worked with many young men and women who have chosen abstinence. Others have recommitted themselves to abstinence after experiencing firsthand the pain that results from sex outside of marriage.

...Abstinence until marriage is the best decision physically, emotionally, socially and intellectually. That is the truth. To justify your viewpoint by saying “kids can’t choose to be abstinent” is to portray our children as little more than animals with uncontrollable urges. Boys and girls who can’t learn to choose the best for their future. Perhaps that is how you see America. But I see the young men and women in this country as children with dreams, with unlimited potential, and with choices to make.

In fact, we all have a choice to make. I choose the truth."

Thank you A.C. and Veronique for setting such a wonderful example for so many kids!

Read more on the blog....

Jeannine Kellogg, based in Minneapolis, has a Masters in Business Administration and works in the technology field. Outside of work she enjoys writing, travel, and teaching piano.

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