.- Bishop Jorge Solorzano of Matagalpa, Nicaragua, has revealed to a local newspaper that he gave up the chance to become an NBA star and instead chose to become a priest.
In an interview with “El Nuevo Diario,” Bishop Solorzano explained that when he was 20 years old and was preparing to enter the priesthood, he met with scouts who were impressed by his height - 6’4’’- and his basketball skills and offered him the chance to try his luck in NBA.
“When I was studying theology in Mexico, I was 18 years old. At the seminary nobody played baseball so they trained me to play basketball,” the bishop said. “Since we played against other seminaries and Mexican universities, some scouts from the NBA saw me and they offered me a chance to join that organization and that I would be paid millions. I was 18 years old (in 1979), weighed 100 pounds less, and they saw how I made triple jumps and dunked the ball, and so they made me a proposal,” he said.
Bishop Solorzano recalled that he consulted then-Archbishop Miguel Obando, who told him, “Don’t give in to temptation.” “So I rejected the offer to earn millions in the NBA and I stayed in the seminary. I had my doubts, and the cardinal encouraged me to not give in to the temptation.”
The Nicaraguan bishop said he felt the call of God ever since he was a young child helping his father tend to their livestock and attending the local school. As they lived in a rural area they were often without electricity, “not to mention television,” he added. “I feel it was a direct call from God and not from any kind of vocational campaign. In the fields I felt almost as if I heard the voice of God say: ‘Do not tend the cows any longer, but rather tend my people,” he recalled.