Ex-Sportscaster rediscovers faith in God

January 26, 2008 at 7:42 pm Leave a comment

Source: DallasNews.com

Once upon a time, Allen Stone was a big voice in this town. He sat courtside at Mavericks games and called them like he saw them.

That was a good thing for the Mavs in 1980s, when it was the can-do-no-wrong “model” franchise.

By 1983-84, their fourth season in the NBA, the Mavericks were winning more games than they were losing and had reached the playoffs. As the Cowboys began to struggle, the Mavericks won 55 games in 1986-87 and advanced to the Western Conference finals the following season.

Mavs Mania lived.

“Heady times,” recalled Stone, 61, who had joined the Mavericks from the sports anchor desk at KDFW-TV (Channel 4).

Maybe too heady. Stone also recalls hearing a radio sports talk host saying his ego was bigger than Reunion Arena.

But the Mavericks went south in the 1990s. Lopsided losing seasons became the norm. Still calling it like he saw it for the team’s television audience, Stone lost favor with management.

An original Mavericks employee, he was fired before the start of the 1993-94 season.

(Note: At the time, the Mavericks were 1-58 in their last 59 games on over-the-air television. That haplessness dated back to February 1991. There was not a lot of positive in an .017 winning percentage.)

“I tried really hard, to be honest,” Stone said after he was fired. “But in the end, I always had to give the final score.”

Stone flitted on and off the local media radar after the firing. Many teams employ their broadcasters. Those that don’t must bless those hired by stations or networks. Brutal honesty, delivered with a hammer, is not always the best policy for those who enjoy cashing a play-by-play or analyst’s paycheck.

Stone found work at fledgling all-sports radio networks that never got off the ground. He tried working for a public relations agency. He did hook on with his alma mater, SMU, and called basketball games.

Along the way, Stone, who studied theology at East Texas State and SMU, rediscovered his religion and his faith in God.

“I made a lot of mistakes in my life,” he said in an interview this week. “There were several personal failures. There were a lot of people at my church who were not happy with me. I had three failed marriages.”

Stone began volunteering at Dawson State Jail, just across Interstate 35 from Reunion Arena. He helped with church services and bible study. He expanded up the road to the Union Gospel Mission on Irving Boulevard. There were mouths and spirits to feed.

“I never needed to tell those guys that they’ve failed,” he said. “I do tell them that there is a God who loves them so.”

About six months ago, Stone took a job at the mission. He is now the mission’s director of development.

On an average night, he said, it houses approximately 325 people in separate men’s and women’s facilities.

“This is totally different than anything I have ever done,” Stone said. “My shelf life as a broadcaster has expired …

“Here, I’m learning as I go on the job. But when I go home from here, I go with a different feeling, like I have a chance to make a difference. It’s a powerful feeling I never had before.”


Entry filed under: TV. Tags: , , , .

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