In 1987, Pamela McGee was living an athlete’s dream: after a successful career in college basketball, she went on to play for multiple international leagues, and ultimately played for the WNBA. In the thick of her career, at the age of 24, Pamela found herself unexpectedly pregnant. The thought of hauling a baby to practice and games didn’t seem realistic, so she scheduled an abortion. Although the abortion decision seemed to make more sense initially, the choice did not sit well with her. She turned to her faith for clarity.
Three days prior to her scheduled abortion, she prayed about the decision, and then went to church; the pastor’s sermon was about the value of life. She knew that abortion had not been the right option for her, and Pamela decided to cancel her appointment and figure out a way to parent without sacrificing her career. And she did.
Although most women are made to feel as though children are an insurmountable obstacle to worldly success, Pamela proved herself an exception to that perception. Without even the option of maternity leave, Pamela was dealing with her circumstances with the headstrong determination that had launched her into athletic success.
Thanks to her decision to choose life, the NBA now boasts a star whose physical abilities “border on the supernatural.” JaVale McGee, Pamela’s son, had his mother’s baller adrenaline pumping in his veins as he grew up. He has been a professional NBA player since he was first drafted in 2008. His mother hung up her jersey long ago, but she didn’t walk away from the profession for good; she’s now JaVale’s financial manager.
But at the end of the day, Pamela’s legacy did not end up being her wildly successful basketball career or her job as JaVale’s financial manager. Her identity has been most strongly shaped by her role as a mother, and she says that JaVale himself, as her son, is her “greatest accomplishment and [her] greatest blessing.” Pamela is fortunate to have realized the heartache than abortion would have caused before making the decision. Too often, women don’t fully comprehend the value of what they lose in an abortion until it’s too late. JaVale McGee stands to testify to the joy that a surprise pregnancy can bring a mother, even when the circumstances of that pregnancy seem, for a time, to contradict everything she has worked for.