Blog Banners.001When values are clear, decisions are simpler.

Now, simpler doesn’t mean easier for many decisions we need to make are difficult. But when priorities are clear cut, choices are simpler.

I read a recent article by Sports Illustrated on Jermaine O’Neal, a six-time NBA All-Star, Most Improved Player in 2002. He helped Indiana Pacers reach the NBA Playoffs 6 times but never got a championship ring.Screen Shot 2016-04-01 at 8.34.42 AM

In 2013, he signed with the Golden State Warriors to play through 2014. But after a year with the Warriors, he decided to call it a career. The year after that, the Warriors went on to win their first championship after a 40-year drought.

When his former team won the championship, he was watching the game back at his house in Southlake, Texas. His 15-year-old daughter, Asjia watched her dad watch the game and asked, “Are you OK?”

O’Neal didn’t say a word.

She knew he was pondering on what might have been if he stayed another year.

Screen Shot 2016-04-01 at 8.34.17 AMBut for years, he told his family that they were his priority. His daughter just recovered from an open heart surgery. And while contemplating on signing with the Warriors for another year (the year they won the championship), his son told him, “Hey dad, I need you.”

“Physically, I could have done it. Mentally, no. My son and my family asked me not to, and that was the trump card. That did something to me. I was seeing changes in my son, he became more angry. And for a guy who didn’t meet his dad until seven years ago myself, I understood what it meant not to have a dad there,” O’Neal mentions in his interview with Sports Illustrated.

After she asked her dad if he was ok, Asjia walks up to her room.

A few minutes later, she sends him a text telling him about how happy she was that he was home. After recovering from her open heart surgery, she made it to volleyball team in her school and is now a rising star.

Asjia tells her dad how she appreciates him not only being home but also being able to travel with her to watch her play her volleyball games.

“Dad, you being home is like you being a champion.”

This text made what he gave up all worth it.

“It made me so emotional. When she wrote the text, how much it meant to her, to get that, it cleared up everything. All the emotions I had, missing out on the championship. That did it and I knew right away that my time was over,” O’Neal said.

“Sometimes you can’t be a champion. That doesn’t determine who you are,” he says. “But you can be a champion father, and that means everything. That means everything.”

When values are clear, decisions are simpler.

To read the full article from Sports Illustrated, click here.

 

Blog Banners.001

 

A decade ago, the Golden State Warriors were regular cellar dwellers. 

These days, we hear that team often mentioned in ESPN. Coupled with the team is a name that is consequentially mentioned – Steph Curry

The son of a 16 year NBA veteran, Dell Curry, has made it big. But in spite of his athletic success, he forgets not the reason why he was given this platform. 

In the website of Fellowship of Christian Athletes, he had this to share: 

I remember it like it was yesterday, the day I gave my life to Christ. I was in fourth grade, and I recall hearing and understanding the gospel of Jesus Christ and walking down the aisle to give my life to Him. My parents continued to pour into my faith from that point on, making sure I understood the commitment I’d just made. Starting in middle school I attended Charlotte Christian School, which allowed me to hear the gospel on a daily basis. Looking back, my childhood was filled with the Lord’s presence.

Some of us might have seen him thump his chest and point his index finger upward after making a shot.  In an interview with Decision Magazine , he explains that it was a trademark he and his mother came up with as an outward sign and internal reminder that God gets the glory for his success. 

Steph explains furthermore. 

“Obviously, there’s a lot of hoopla and fanfare that follows you wherever you go, but I know where my talent comes from.”

“I know why I play the game, and it’s not to score 30 points a night, but it’s to use the stage I’m on. I’ve been put here for a specific purpose: to be a witness and to share my testimony as I go through it.”

In a column last year for the Fellowship of Christian Athletes website, Steph wrote that he loves to point people toward “the Man who died for our sins on the cross. I know I have a place in Heaven waiting for me because of Him, and that’s something no earthly prize or trophy could ever top.”

“I love to play the game, and I love when good things happen,” he said. “But when I get home, it’s about my family and just enjoying the blessings in my life without letting [basketball] define my personality or my character.”

May of this year (2015), Steph received the NBA’s Most Valuable Player Award.   He started his acceptance speech saying: “First and foremost I have to thank my Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ for blessing me with the talents to play this game, with the family to support me, day in, day out. I’m his humble servant right now and I can’t say enough how important my faith is to who I am and how I play the game.”

One Q&A session, Curry spoke in detail about his faith after one member of the media asked him about the meaning of the 4:13 that he made sure was placed at the bottom of some of the sneakers’ tongues. Inside the tongue reads, “I can do all things,” which comes from Philippians 4:13 which reads “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”

“It represents a Bible verse I wear on my shoe,” Curry explains to the press, according to Rapzilla reports. “Philippians 4:13. It says ‘I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.’ It’s also my mantra, how I get up for games and why I play the way I do.”

His life reminds me of James 4:6  that says, “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” 

May we all be encouraged to use whatever platform God has given to ultimately bring praise and honor to His name and His name alone.