Official NBA photo
The NBA Finals start tonight. The Golden State Warriors are led by Steph Curry, the league’s 2014-15 MVP. They take on the Cleveland Cavaliers and their star LeBron James, past MVP recipient. For Golden State, it is their first NBA finals in 40 years.
The finals hold interest not only for the outcome of the championship, but for the opportunity to see Warriors rising star, Steph Curry. And it is not only fans in the Bay Area who are interested, but people across the country. Curry holds the NBA record for 3-point scoring in a season and is currently setting playoff records. Some say he is the greatest shooter of all time. Curry is not only spectacular shooting the basketball, but has extraordinary ball handling and passing skills as well.
In spite of all the attention, Curry retains a sense of humility and balance. He willingly talks about his love for his family, including his two-year-old daughter Riley, who sometimes sits on his lap during post-game interviews. Curry also openly talks about his faith.
Stanford athletes are a privileged group. They attend one of the best colleges in the world, compete in a Division I athletic program, and live in a beautiful area. But a Stanford athlete also faces significant challenges. How does one balance athletics and rigorous academics? How does one answer the questions when confronted with the diversity of opinion heard on campus: What is truth? What do I believe? What is my purpose in life? Jim Stump, founder and president of Sports Challenge, makes himself available to Stanford athletes to encourage and support them, as well as to help them with questions about faith.
Brent Jones is well-known in the Bay Area and by football fans across the country for his exploits with the San Francisco 49ers. He was selected as an All Pro tight end four times and earned three Super Bowl rings in his twelve years in the National Football League. Earlier this year, Jones was inducted into the Bay Area Sports Hall of Fame.
What is less known about Jones are the struggles he went through to become a football star. His career offers a great example of perseverance and faith. Continue reading
Football fans know Ronnie Lott as a former All-Pro defensive back with the 49ers. Some may also be aware of his other activities since his professional football days, including work as a football commentator on radio and television, his work in philanthropy and in private equity. What is less known about Lott is what drives his passion — his Christian faith.
I had a chance to sit down with Lott recently to discuss his faith.
Jeremy Lin captured the world’s attention in the winter of 2012 when he seemingly came out of nowhere to lead the New York Knicks to a winning streak after the Knicks had lost 11 of its previous 13 games. The press labeled his emergence as a star, “Linsanity.” But in December of 2012 while playing for his new team, the Houston Rockets, and not performing up to expectations, Lin had a crisis of identity. The crisis led to a deepening of Lin’s Christian faith. Here is his story.
In 2010, on the first pitch he saw in the major leagues, Daniel Nava hit a grand slam home run. Such a feat happened only one other time in the major leagues. As amazing as that is, it is not the whole story. The Boston Globe Magazine reports that Nava was considered “too short, too skinny and too mediocre” to play in the major leagues. The Red Sox signed him for only $1. Today, he is one of the reasons the Red Sox have surged from last place in their division in 2012 to the top of the division in 2013. As of this writing, Nava is hitting over .290 and is in the top ten in the American League in on-base-percentage. The St. Francis and Santa Clara graduate is also a person who takes his Christian faith seriously. Click on Daniel Nava in The Globe Magazine to read his story.
Competition drives Silicon Valley, as it does professional sports. Greg Jamison, former president and CEO of the San Jose Sharks, is both a Silicon Valley businessman and a professional sports executive. It did not surprise me that in a recent interview he said, “I love competition.” Jamison is also a follower of Jesus Christ. I wondered how he reconciles Jesus’s command to “love your neighbor” with such a strong desire to compete and win. In my interview with him, I explored the areas of competition, business leadership and faith.
If you are a Bay Area sports fan, you likely know that the Warriors made the NBA playoffs this year for the first time in a long, long time. What you may not know is that the Warriors coach, Mark Jackson is an ordained pastor and faith is a bond the team shares. On Saturday, April 20, the San Jose Mercury News featured an article worth leading. It is titled, Golden State Warriors Lean on their Faith Heading into the Playoffs.