Fall 2022

Tyrese Maxey staying connected to God as he maximizes growing role with 76ers

At his AUU games growing up, Philadelphia 76ers guard Tyrese Maxey would lead his team in a prayer he once heard his dad recite.

Maxey still tries to live by the words of the prayer as a second-year NBA player: “Dear Lord, as we go through the battles of life, we ask for a chance that’s fair, a chance to equal our strides, a chance to do or dare. If we should win, let us win by the code. If we should lose, let us stand by the road, and wave as the winners go by.”

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Taken by Philadelphia with the 21st overall pick in the 2020 draft, Maxey is in the midst of a breakout season for the 76ers (27-19). His points, assists and rebounds per game totals have all at least doubled from his rookie year.

Maxey leads the 76ers in minutes (35.3) and assists (4.5) per game while averaging 16.3 points, good for third on the team. He has reached double figures in scoring the last eight games he’s appeared in dating back to Dec. 30.

The 21-year-old expressed his gratitude to God before taking the court in his first NBA game.

“A lot of preparation went into this moment, a lot of prayers, and a lot of blessing,” he said in December 2020. “I thank God every morning when I wake up. I really appreciate Him helping me get to this point.”

Basketball and faith have been constants in Maxey’s life from the very beginning. His dad, Tyrone, finished his college career at Washington State and proceeded to become a basketball coach. By the time Maxey was 8, he was asking his dad to train him.

Maxey’s faith journey started with his grandmothers and parents, who made prayer, conversation about God, and going to church part of his childhood routine.

 

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It was instilled in Maxey that believing in God by itself wasn’t enough; being a Christian also meant backing that belief up with action.

“That’s exactly how I was brought up,” he recently told The Athletic. “Treat others the way you want to be treated, and that’s really it.”

Maxey has put that lesson into practice throughout his life, always looking for ways to uplift the people around him.

At South Garland High School (Garland, Texas), he could be found eating lunch with a group of kids that his coach, Dominique Parker, said “nobody probably would’ve sat with.” In his single collegiate season at Kentucky, he would stick around after games to spend time with whoever was there, whether he knew them or not.

“He’s very in tune with God and he knows his purpose,” Tim Martin, Maxey’s longtime basketball trainer, told The Athletic. “I think that’s very unique in itself, that young and understanding your role, not only as a basketball player but as a human being. It’s a true testament to his faith and his upbringing.”

From the moment he started training with his dad, Maxey’s been focused on doing everything possible to get the most out of his basketball career. It’s why he had a painting he made in ninth grade of him in a Kentucky uniform to show John Calipari when the famed coach came for Maxey’s in-home visit.

His rapid rise in the NBA is just further proof of his dedication.

“I want to be able to maximize my potential,” Maxey told The Athletic. “When it’s all said and done, the ball stops bouncing and my career is over, I want to be able to say, ‘I don’t have any what-ifs. What if I worked harder? What if I went to the gym an extra day?’ I want to be able to say I gave everything I had and that was it.”

The 76ers, sitting sixth in the Eastern Conference, continue their season at 7 p.m. ET Tuesday against New Orleans at home.

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