PORTLAND — It’s just after 6 p.m. before the Portland Trail Blazers tip-off against the Phoenix Suns and most of the locker room has cleared out to go to chapel.
Big man Chris Kaman, a devout Christian, will go across the room to see who is going to get in pregame words of wisdom from the team’s pastor.
Nearly all of the team takes part as well.
But over the past few years, one player in particular has been steadfast in his lack of interest in the service, Blazers third year guard Allen Crabbe.
Crabbe is one of six holdovers from last year’s team but one you don’t hear about often. Heck, you don’t hear from him often at all. And his abstention from the long-held NBA tradition is just as quiet.
Chapel has been a tradition in the NBA, reportedly since 1979.
So when it became clear that Crabbe didn’t leave when much of the team exited the locker room for the pregame service, it stood out.
But it’s not that Crabbe is not religious. Far from it.
“My grandfather is a pastor,” Crabbe said. “So that pretty much explains itself right there. Ever since I’ve been growing up, that’s all I know. It’s about God and faith and having your trust and belief in Him. That’s where it all comes from.”
Crabbe’s grandfather Frederick Price founded the Crenshaw Christian Center in Los Angeles and the Price School along his wife Dr. Betty Price. And Crabbe’s uncle, Frederick Price Jr. followed in his grandfather’s footsteps to become a pastor.
Crabbe wears a tattoo on the inside of his left forearm that says “Only God Can Judge Me,” and comes from a family where devotion to God runs in their blood.
“I’m real particular about who I listen to, what I listen to,” Crabbe said. “I’m not saying I have anything against new people or that I’m not open to hearing new people talk. But, like I said, my grandfather and my uncle are both pastors. I’ve been listening to them all my life. I just wait until I can hear them pretty much.”
Crabbe’s faith is not about showing the outside world his devotion to God but something private. Something sacred.
“You won’t see me on Twitter or Instagram or anything like that,” Crabbe said. “Just sometimes you see a lot of people broadcasting (their faith) and you sit back and wonder: ‘Well, is that only because something good has happened for you?’ ”
Chapel often serves as a time for people to get in their prayers during a hectic travel schedule.
The Blazers are only in Los Angeles every so often, so Crabbe is rarely able to attend Bible study or Sunday service at the family church.
So how does Crabbe make sure he gets the good word in?
“I miss it, but they have online service where you can broadcast and stream it on Sunday’s so that’s what I do,” Crabbe said.
Crabbe says that his family has always been his strongest supporter throughout the ups and downs of his career, from when his playing time was up and down until now that he’s an entrenched contributor.
“They’re constantly chirping to keep the faith, keep trusting God and things will be better,” Crabbe said. “And that’s what it is. The days that you see that aren’t good, that means it’s going to be better days.”
Family, faith and an internet connection, help Crabbe express his faith in a unique way.
“I’ve been listening to them all my life, growing up from high school, college, until now,” Crabbe said. “I’m not against them and I’m not against being open to other people speak. But I just prefer it. I prefer that route.”