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Travis Hansen meets with Danny (left) and Lloyd (center) Lechtenberg

NBA Player Scores Points with LDS Youth

By David Winters 

(NORCROSS, GEORGIA)  -- November 24, 2003

Travis Hansen, the Atlanta Hawks rookie, is a proven basketball player.  He was the top scorer and the leader in the number of blocked shots last year on the BYU basketball team.  This past spring he was selected 37th overall in the NBA draft.  On Sunday evening, the 6’ 6” 210 pound guard/forward scored points with the Latter-day Saints youth of the Roswell Stake, as he spoke to them in a fireside sponsored by the Peachtree Corners Ward.

Travis spoke on setting goals and choosing to have a positive attitude.  He was accompanied by his wife, LaRee, and their ten-month-old son, Ryder.

“We need to decide what’s important in our lives and set goals to achieve them,” Travis told the roughly 200 youth.  “Heavenly Father loves us.  He has given us gifts and talents.  He wants us to grow and develop those talents.  We do that by setting goals.”

Travis knows much about setting goals.  As a youth, his dad helped him become more disciplined in setting goals.  One summer, he had a goal to make 500 basketball goals each day.  He wouldn’t quit practicing shooting until he reached his goal, which often took hours to do.

Travis quoted President Ezra Taft Benson: “Every accountable child of God needs to set goals, short- and long-range goals. A man who is pressing forward to accomplish worthy goals can soon put despondency under his feet, and once a goal is accomplished, others can be set up. Some will be continuing goals. Each week when we partake of the sacrament we commit ourselves to the goals of taking upon ourselves the name of Christ, of always remembering him and keeping his commandments. Of Jesus’ preparation for his mission, the scripture states that he “increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man.” (Luke 2:52.) This encompasses four main areas for goals: spiritual, mental, physical, and social. “Therefore, what manner of men ought ye to be?” asked the Master, and he answered, “Verily I say unto you, even as I am.” (3 Ne. 27:27.) Now there is a lifetime goal -- to walk in his steps, to perfect ourselves in every virtue as he has done, to seek his face, and to work to make our calling and election sure.”  (Ezra Taft Benson, “Do Not Despair,” Ensign, Nov. 1974, 65.)

“How do we set goals?” Travis asked.  “We must write them down, otherwise they aren’t goals at all.  Secondly, they need to be your goals – not those of your parents, teachers or friends.  Lastly, you need to write down those objectives that will help you achieve your goals.”

LaRee, Ryder, and Travis Hansen

He challenged the youth to have good long and short-term goals.  “Every young man should have a goal to serve a mission.  Everyone here should have a goal to read scriptures every day.  Everyone here should have a goal to be married in the temple.  All of us should have a lifetime goal to become more and more like our Heavenly Father.”

“Life is all about choices.  You choose to be in a good mood, or you choose to be in a bad mood.  Either way, it’s your choice,” Travis counseled the youth.

Travis also spoke of the influence of his mother on his life.  “One day after coming home from college classes my first year of college, my mother complained of a pain in her lower back.  Two months later she was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.  The doctor told her that she only had thirty days to live.  She ended up living three months.  But as she was dying of cancer, my mom said, ‘You need to go on a mission, Travis.’  It made a tremendous impact on me.  I served a two-year mission in Santiago , Chile .  It was the best thing I could have ever done.”

Travis closed by admonishing the youth to use their time wisely.  “Wake up early and read your scriptures.  Set goals and work to achieve them – whether they’re goals in music, school or sports.  If you want something bad enough, you’ll get it if you set a goal and then do the necessary work to obtain it.  I love this Church.  I love the Book of Mormon.  I love the youth.”