The nation’s largest cable television network is broadcasting a weekly show that presents positive role models from the sports world. ESPN, which reaches more than 35 million American homes, is airing the program, hosted by basketball great Julius Erving of the Philadelphia 76ers.

Called “Julius Erving’s Sports Focus,” the show gives well-known athletes a chance to discuss how their faith bears on their profession. The half-hour program debuted earlier this year.

A typical segment includes stories about two or three Christian athletes and examines a sports-related issue, such as drug abuse or recruiting violations. Among the athletes to be profiled are Chicago Bears wide receiver Willie Gault, Olympic skater Rosalynn Sumners, and marathoner Alberto Salazar.

The show is produced by New Focus, Inc., an organization founded last year by Ralph Drollinger, once a standout basketball player at the University of California at Los Angeles. Seven years ago, Drollinger turned down a lucrative offer to join the pro ranks. He opted instead to tour for two years with Campus Crusade for Christ’s Athletes in Action (AIA) basketball team. He did turn pro in 1980 when he became a Dallas Maverick, but a knee injury ended his brief career. Until he founded New Focus, he served as executive producer of AIA’s “Sports Magazine” television program.

Drollinger describes New Focus as a company “committed to producing high moral, high traditional value programming for mass audiences.” Although the featured athletes usually are believers, the show is not overtly evangelistic. Drollinger said the show is intended to entertain. He added that attempts at “hard sell” evangelism probably ...

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