I’m an old-school fan in a world of hoops gone mad. I understand how and why player contract negotiations and free agency have become so important in the free world of player compensation, but I grow weary of the rollover rosters and the endless speculation of who will land where and for how much money. I miss the old days of knowing my team, anticipating a draft pick or two, and every once in a while, analyzing a blockbuster trade. I’m so tired of it that I tuned out the LeBron news and focused on my baseball job for a few weeks. But then, my spiritual side was piqued by a radio talk show teaser – “When we come back we’ll discuss why Minnesota can’t give Love away.” I took the bait like a largemouth bass gobbling up a minnow on my line (that hasn’t happened in a few years!). I realize that I’m stretching this a bit, but stick with me as we take a closer look at Love.
BASKETBALL – The power of Love
I fell in love with Kevin’s game when he left his mark on the college game playing alongside Russell Westbrook at UCLA for one simple reason:. :
As a coach who wants his team to run, a big man who can ignite the break and resurrect visions of Wes Unseld is priceless. And Love has only expanded his rare skill in the NBA (and I’m not talking about the classic clips of Love hitting long-range shots at a shoot around!):
And for those of you who need a lesson in NBA history, Wes Unseld was the epitome of an over-achieving, undersized power forward who could ignite the break. Kevin Love, though, has grown beyond his Unseld-like outlets and tenacious rebounding into a true superstar power forward who can bang with the best, yet light it up from outside. Every team in the league could use Love!
But enough of the Love-fest and back to the world of transactions. The Minnesota Timberwolves, much like many of us, are reluctant to give Love away because they’ve been burned in the past – burned so much they’ve been stuck in mediocrity since losing Kevin Garnett. Love has made it clear. He will not re-sign with the Wolves after the 2014-2015 season. In the current world of the NBA that means Minnesota runs the risk of losing everything if they try to keep Love and are forced to find the best deal they can get. And not just any deal. The key is getting a deal that gives them the best chance of a winning future. We’ll see if that involves Andrew Wiggins or not, but they can’t just give Love away. I don’t envy their position.
LIFE – Give love away!
How many problems in life are a direct result of choosing to love or not to love? Have you ever withheld love? Have you ever been like the Timberwolves and held out for the best possible love deal you could get – you know, I’ll love you only if you love me? If you’re honest, you’ll find far too many cases you’d like to forget. How many of us go through life, expecting to get something from showing love to another person? Marriages and dating relationships can be ruined, families can be torn apart, and careers can be stalled all because we use the idea of love as a bartering tool. Too many of us buy into the concept of love being a romantic feeling that you either have for someone or you don’t. That it’s an uncontrollable emotion. I’m an expert on this as I just finished up watching another season of The Bachelorette with my daughter. We all can stay in love if we can frolic in the Caribbean and stay in the fantasy suite, right? I think you’ll agree, though, love is much more than that. Love is putting the needs, the interests, and the wants of other people in any type of relationships ahead of your own without expecting anything in return. So while the T-Wolves are trying to get all they can for Love, that’s not a great plan in life.
FAITH – Is it a choice?
In an imperfect world, perfect love is difficult to comprehend and impossible to find with one exception. We look for it, we hope for it, we expect it from others, we even demand it, but the only true love was given to us in Jesus. God loved us so much that he gave up his Son to die for us. That’s love, to put others ahead of self and that’s what we should strive for in every relationship we have. Jesus reminds us, though, it’s not just a choice to love. It’s also a choice to obey:
“My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.” (John 15:12)
As my pastor would say, that goes beyond the Golden Rule. It’s the Titanium Rule – loving others as God loved us. And while Minnesota may feel that it can’t give Love away without getting something in return. God expects us to try His way. Try it for yourself. Love somebody – for that matter, love everyone without expecting something back. It will change your life!