I love the fact that Christians find themselves in occupations that cut across our culture. The National Basketball Association (NBA) is no different. I”m a huge NBA fan. And I appreciate players and coaches who love Jesus and are vocal about it. So I’ve compiled a list. It’s my Christian NBA Starting Five and their head coach. Let’s hop right in.
True, he’s no longer a head coach in the NBA, but I have a ton of respect for this man. After he was unceremoniously dismissed as the head coach of the New Orleans Pelicans last year, he had nothing negative to say about the organization. His words were filled with grace and he expressed gratitude for the organization giving him a chance to serve as head coach.
Earlier this year, Williams lost his wife in a tragic car accident after another driver crossed into her lane, hitting her car head on. With many NBA players and executives in attendance, Williams delivered a powerful eulogy for his wife’s home-going a week later. His words to the family of the other person involved in the accident were the most heartwarming.
Let us not forget that there were two people in this situation and that family needs prayer as well. And we have no ill will toward that family. That family didn’t wake up wanting to harm my wife. Life is hard—it is very hard—and that was tough. But we hold no ill will toward the Donaldson family.
Wow. He put Jesus’ words on forgiveness into practice before a national audience. The next day sports commentators had no words. From TNT’s rambunctious crew to ESPN’s First Take, Williams’ grace and humility had media heads both perplexed and humbled. That’s why I chose this assistant coach to head my Christian NBA Team. He’s a Jesus follower and it shows.
We all remember when Linsanity showed up in New York City and took over the NBA in the early winter a few years ago. Since then, Lin has played on four different teams. The national television coverage has died down, but one thing has remained consistent. Lin, a Harvard graduate, is a faithfully committed Jesus follower. He’s gonna need Jesus a lot on this Brooklyn Nets team this year.
Was there any question? Much respect to the machine otherwise known as LeBron James, but Stephen Curry might be the best player in the NBA right now. He has a legendary work ethic (the media covers his pre-game routines like it’s a Hollywood Blockbuster).
He turned down an Nike deal (or better stated, Nike turned him down by offering him much less money) and went with the much lesser known Under Armor brand. Plus, Under Armour let him incorporate his favorite Bible verse, Philippians 4:13, into the shoe’s design. Each season, Curry donates money for every three-pointer he makes (which means he came out of pocket significantly for his record-breaking season last year). He’ll be a staple on my Christian All-Star Team for years to come.
The Slim Reaper. He hates that name. He’d much rather be called The Servant. He even had Nike design him some Servant sneakers. But I have a feeling that nickname isn’t going to work out for him. The Slim Reaper sounds more appropriate for 6’9’’ hoops assassin.
Now that he’s joined the Warriors, are they the “most saved” team in the league? Though I will say that Draymond Green does his best to move the needle in the unsaved direction with his crazy antics on and off the court. Whatever the case, KD is now a Warrior. And he carries a book bag full of Bibles. Maybe he’ll get Draymond right with Jesus.
Honestly, I had a tough time with the front court. What, there aren’t any 6’10’’+ Jesus loving dudes in the league? Where is A.C. Green when you need him?
A quick did you know fact I learned in my research: Did you know that Jabari Parker is a Mormon? I have so many questions. How did this happen? Isn’t Parker from Chi-Town? Let me find out the Mormon “elders” made their way over to the South Side to evangelize.
Okay, back on task here. If I HAD to pick someone, I guess I’d go with Blake Griffin-ish. I say -ish because you can’t be injuring your hand in a restaurant altercation with a team manager. Fighting with team managers? Come on, Blake. Get it together. You’re on a short leash, sir. If these bigs don’t step up, I might have to go with a small lineup next year.
Technically, he’s not on a team right now. But I got nothing else. I told you. It’s hard out here in these big man streets.
Kaman is such an interesting dude. He’s a rugged outdoorsman. He has dual citizenship (Germany and the United States). Most of all, he’s vocal about his faith in Jesus.
Hopefully, the Portland Trailblazers bring him back to serve as a mentor to some of their young players. (Side note: The Jailblazers could have used him in the late 90’s/early ’00’s, for sure).
That’s my squad. Not perfect, but that’s the beauty of the Christian faith. We don’t have to be perfect because He was.