Basketball Gossip and Rumors

On a fairly regular basis these days, my college age son asks me if I heard the latest NBA trade rumor.  I usually tell him that I’m technologically challenged and that he can’t expect me to keep up with every rumor on an hourly basis.  He can – which continues to amaze me!  But as I watch all the sports channels, I see rumors float by on the ticker and as I research on the internet, I see endless lists of gossip and speculation.  It never ends!  In fact, the list of websites, bloggers, and experts built around the art of speculation continues to expand.  Is it really worth our time and energy?  Why do we get so caught up in speculation when we have no clue of all the considerations for trades in the pros or personnel issues in the college game?  I’m sure there’s some deep societal explanations, but for me it brings up a chance to bring back the most popular post we’ve had on 3 Point Wisdom and to remind us that God’s directions remain simple, clear, and relevant.

BASKETBALL – Do you know the real story?

As I related in my March 12, 2013 post Tom Crean vs. Jeff Meyer: Who Knows the Truth?, the basketball world is quick to jump to conclusions.  If you’re not part of the everyday workings of any team or organization, all you can do is make assumptions about personnel moves, player issues, and in this case, coaching rivalries.  Even within a team, misinformation and incomplete information often lead to bigger issues that can tear a team apart.  Wise coaches understand that clear, concise, and truthful information within a team is a necessity for keeping a team on a unified path, while players must do their part in addressing concerns through proper team channels.  Gossip and rumors within a team are often the most dangerous obstacles a program must overcome.  Verifying information, discerning the actions and words of others, and testing your responses are essential for being a valued member of any team!

LIFE – Stop Comparing!

Isn’t the root of all the gossip and rumor speculation that most of us spend far too much time comparing ourselves to others?  Basketball and other sports are not only competition, but for many of us they become our identity.  Coaches, players, and fans too often draw on not just the wins and losses, but on the reputation, tradition, and perception of our teams – and we do it in the rest of our lives as well.  We compare our kids to other kids.  We swap stories about our weekend activities and we post accomplishments all over Facebook – and then, we compare.  Do we measure up?  And if for some reason we don’t, we jump into the painful world of rumors and gossip in an attempt to make ourselves feel better.  Rumors and gossip are often built on incomplete information and many times on false information.  Stop comparing, stop finding your worth and identity in the wrong things, and stop finding fault in others.  Once again, this is a little self-therapy!

FAITH – Jesus keeps it simple for us:  Follow & Listen

One of the things I love about the words of Jesus is that He always keeps it simple and His words are always relevant.  A lot has happened for me this summer and I often think that life just gets far too complicated, but as I commit to more and more quiet time in God’s word, some very clear messages come through.  Do we really need to spend so much time speculating about others, spreading half-truths, and trying to get the inside scoop?  This weekend, as I thought about gossip and rumors, two conversations from Jesus offered clear, simple, and practical advice.  Jesus tells us where to put our energy and focus.

In the first, Luke 9:57-62, as Jesus traveled to Jerusalem he attracted flocks of admiring fans.  Three different “fans” wanted to jump on his bandwagon and learn the secrets of his success.  His response: “Follow me!”  Don’t compare.  Don’t look back.  Don’t wait.  Don’t complain.  Just follow.  Do that and it sort of removes the need to gossip and speculate.  And the second conversation is the well-known visit that Jesus had with Mary and Martha in Luke 10:38-42.  Martha jumped into the comparison game and complained to Jesus when Mary wasn’t exactly helpful in the kitchen.  Once again, He cut to the core – “just one thing is needful.”  To Listen.  No one else can do it for you.  It’s between you and God.  No comparing.  No gossiping.  No speculating.  Just listen.  I pray that each of us will choose to follow and listen, rather than gossip and compare!


Does the Butler Way Lead to Celtic Pride?

I’ve been distracted by baseball, but I had to chime in about Brad Stevens agreeing to coach the Boston Celtics.  At first I felt a little betrayed, but now I’m anxiously watching to see the Butler Way taken to the NBA, as well as watching another student of the system, Brandon Miller, take over the Bulldogs.  You see, it’s time to put values-based coaching to the test.  A few years back, Tony Dungy showed it could be done in the NFL by leading Indianapolis to a Super Bowl win without compromising his own integrity and values.  Now Stevens will have the chance to revive Celtic Pride as he takes the leadership approach he and his Butler predecessors refined after adapting principles from coaching great Dick Bennett.  Much like the truth of scripture, Bennett’s principles, as outlined in A Season With Coach Dick Bennett, and the Butler Way provide credibility in difficult situations and prove to be consistent, never-changing principles that apply to all aspects of basketball, but also in handling the challenges of everyday life!

BASKETBALL – Celtic Pride needs to rediscover passion!

Lead Like ButlerLead Like Butler outlines six principles that set Butler apart as a model program.  Stevens was the latest caretaker, but now Brandon Miller can show what the system has taught him.  The six principles are all based on Biblical ideas, but can also stand alone in our present day.  Stevens will undoubtedly use Humility, Passion, Unity, Servanthood, Thankfulness, and Accountability to shape a new vision for the Celtics.  Even though the proud franchise has had a reputation for consistent success, the Celtics can use a spark.  I would point to Passion as one of the more important aspects that Stevens should address.

Doc Rivers remains one of the top coaches in the league and will have a great opportunity to lift the Clippers to new heights, but this past season we heard a lot about aging veterans losing the spark, difficulties with channeling the talents of Rajon Rondo, and missed opportunities.  Stevens will need to rekindle some passion in Boston.  Passion is simply defined as “boundless enthusiasm” and shows itself best when things are not going well and disappointment or boredom sets in.  That has to be a priority for the new coach.

As the summer continues, it’s easy to see who has passion.  I watch my daughter’s high school summer league games and see only a handful of players who display passion for the game.  Many are not putting in the time to develop their skills.  Few are willing to do the little things in summer league games that will make an impact during the regular season.  Talking on the court, hustling after loose balls, and showing early help on defense are a rarity.  If you can’t play with passion, why play?  ESPN Magazine outlined a similar perspective in their July 8 edition about youth sports as outlined in the article Miracle On Ice.  Hockey has been a sport built on passion for the game, but as young players lose the passion for playing, many youth directors are searching for ways to keep the fire alive.  Those of us in basketball would be wise to consider the importance of having passion for the game.  If you don’t have that enthusiasm to keep working and improving, basketball becomes a difficult game!

LIFE – What are you passionate about?

There’s an old saying that if you take a look at how you spend your time, you’ll find what your passions are.  Do a little self-inventory.  What are you passionate about?  Be honest.  Don’t think about what you want to be passionate about.  Don’t think about what you should be passionate about.  Think about how you spend your time.  What gets you charged up?  What things in life do you drop other things for?  Playing Call of Duty or NBA Live on X-Box?  Facebook or Twitter?  Pursuing things that make you feel good?  Do your own check.  What’s important to you?  I’m finally feeling in my life that how I spend my time is close to matching my passions, but it took a while!

FAITH – God gives us passion.

PassionThe authors of Lead Like Butler explain that the word enthusiasm (passion) has its roots in the Greek words for “God in us.” When we discover the passion that God has uniquely created for each of us, it motivates us to devote our time and energy. It compels us to sacrifice, to discipline ourselves, and to make wise choices that help us pursue our passion, as Paul states:

Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize.  (1 Corinthians 9:24)

If God gave you the passion to play basketball, you’ll make choices that help you develop your skills and compete to win.  It’s not immediate and certainly doesn’t mean that identifying your passions will make you an instant success or even the best player on your team – but, it will help you fight through the struggles to become the best player YOU can become.  When you sense God is in you and you identify the passions He’s given you, you’ll display “boundless enthusiasm.”

And finally, God gives each of us a passion to know Him.  We may ignore it or hide it. We may rationalize it or trivialize it, but God created us in His image with a deep need to know His purpose for our lives.  The passion to know Him more deeply has to be more than a Sunday-only thing.  It should be a priority.  It should be something we pursue with enthusiasm, discipline, and commitment. That’s God’s Way!


It’s Time to Reset the Offense

BrodieIt’s one of those games.  Shots won’t fall and every possession is a struggle to get a good shot.  The players are attacking the rim, setting hard screens, and running the floor every chance they get, but still the shots don’t fall.  Late in the game, the score is tied, but fortunes have not changed.  A shot rims out, but a post player fights for possession only to have his put-back rejected out to the perimeter.  The ball is picked up by a terrific scorer who gets his defender up in the air with a quick ball fake, takes one hard dribble, and launches the third shot of the possession.  It clanks off the back of the rim and is tracked down by another teammate.  At this point, the entire staff, most of the bench, and even one of the cheerleaders on the baseline is yelling “Pull it out!  Reset!”  Even though the game plan is to be aggressive and always attack, calmer heads prevail.  The point guard calls a set, the team executes to get an open shot, and the team takes a lead it won’t relinquish.  Game over.  Ever feel like that in life?  Don’t we all need to reset every once in a while?

BASKETBALL – Now’s the time to reset.

My son needs a reset.  He’ll be entering 8th grade in six weeks and basketball is important to him.  He plays on a summer team, attends some local camps, and is trying to keep up with his growth spurt – and he had grand plans (or at least his dad did!) to develop a plan for improving on his own.  That hasn’t worked out the way we planned, and he needs to get going again.  He needs to reset.

Our college team needs a reset.  Division III brings a unique set of challenges since players don’t receive scholarships.  Summer jobs often infringe upon skill improvement!  But then again, so do the demands of a social life and other choices. Work (and social) schedules often make participation in summer leagues an inconsistent endeavor, or maybe it’s just a matter of priorities.  It’s time for a reset.

Right now, NBA teams need a reset.  My head is spinning from all of the free agent movement! Talk about resets!  Can anyone stick with a team anymore?

The Celtics had a major reset – trade Doc Rivers, the coach, and completely reset with Brad Stevens.  I actually like that one – for both guys!  And now, the Butler Bulldogs have to reset the Butler Way.  Yep, it’s time to reset.  Good luck to everyone out there screaming from the bench “reset!”

LIFE – Our country needs a reset.

Declaration of IndependenceAs we celebrated the 4th of July this year, I found myself exploring this idea of a reset. Doesn’t it seem like our country needs a reset?  Like a team forcing up hurried shot after hurried shot, it seems like our country needs to settle down a bit and remember what our country is all about.  Arguments about healthcare, abortion laws, and marriage policies seem to be driving us further and further from what our country is supposed to be.  So, do we all just ignore it and go on with life, or do we need to be more active in helping our leaders see the need to reset a few things? Like my son’s plan for improving his game, our country’s best intentions have been slipping away. Check out the Gospel Coalition’s Review of Independence Day and some of their related articles to get a little different perspective!

FAITH – God knew we would need to reset.

One of the most underappreciated elements of this world is God’s creation of night and day.  Digest for a minute how incredible the 24 hour cycle of the earth revolving around the moon is. The incredible design of Creation becomes so apparent. Take it a step further and chew on how important the concept of a new morning is for each of us and you begin to realize that once again, God’s plans are so above our way of thinking.  He gives us a reset EVERY morning!  It’s truly amazing!  And it’s not just physical and emotional resets we need.  He has planned for our need for spiritual resets as well.  Lamentations 3:22-23 reminds us that “His mercies are new every morning” and no matter what we’ve done, He provides us the opportunity to reset.

I’ve expressed that I was struggling to keep up with my writing, even though I feel that the supply of ideas for relating basketball, life, and faith is endless.  I just need to reset, especially when it comes to integrating faith.  The result is that I took some time to develop a Scripture Index for the topics I’m sharing.  Just click on the heading under Game Plan and the index will allow you to check for scripture references you come across in your own faith walk.  When you do, click on it, and hopefully, I’ve done a good job of showing some correlation to life in the basketball world!  There you go. That’s my reset.