Alumnus and Athletic Hall of Famer Alaric (Al) Allen graduated from Belmont in 1996 after an outstanding basketball career and began working in mortgage banking. Allen and his wife Jude volunteer with an inner-city ministry, and he also serves as the executive director of Pass the Salt, a marketplace ministry that encourages Christians to be Jesus in their jobs. Allen has published two books, A Father’s Epistles and The Salt Journal, but his talk focused on the root causes of racism and the impact of Martin Luther King, Jr.
Introduced by Coach Rick Byrd, Allen began by acknowledging all the supposed sources of racism—economic, social, cultural, moral and civil rights issues—before confirming that the real root is a spiritual problem. “The problem is not racism, it’s rejection,” Allen said. “We were created, every single one of us, to be a child of God, but everything this world tells us says otherwise. It’s a spiritual problem, and the world can’t solve a spiritual problem.”
Pointing to John 4, Allen illustrated how Jesus accepted the woman at the well despite her position in the culture as a woman, a Samaritan and a sinner, freeing her from the bondage of rejection. In a similar fashion Allen recalled an experience in his own life that reminded him, “My heritage has nothing to do with skin. My heritage is as a son of God… I celebrate Martin Luther King not as a black man or a great American. I celebrate him as someone who looked at the impossible and went after it. He dreamed a dream that was God’s dream, and he lived, sacrificed and died for it.”
Inducted into the Belmont University Athletic Hall of Fame last fall, Allen was one of the most imposing and productive interior players in Belmont men’s basketball history. Despite playing just three seasons, Allen is one of only eight players in program history to score over 2,000 career points (2,030). Belmont went an astounding 95-20 during Allen’s career, including 37-2 in 1994-95. That season, Allen was named Second Team NAIA All-American and TCAC Co-Player of the Year as Belmont earned its first-ever No. 1 national ranking and a trip to the NAIA Final Four. His career field goal percentage of .669 is the highest in Bruin history, a mark that will likely stand the test of time.