Sports & Theology: Kevin Garnett & Ray Allen
Let’s set the scene: Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen were teammates together for several years with the Boston Celtics. Not only had they won a championship together but they were close friends. That is, until Ray Allen left as a free agent to join the Miami Heat. How would this move affect their friendship? Greatly.
“I don’t have Ray’s number any more,” Garnett said at the Celtics’ media day at their training center on Friday. “I’m not trying to communicate. I’m just being honest with everybody in here … It’s just what it is.
Pressed on why he cut off contact with Allen, Garnett added, “I choose not to. I choose — that’s a choice I personally made. I told you all, I’m very close to Ray. I know his family. I wish nothing but the best for him and his family. I’m just making a choice on my own. That’s all.”
I’m going to go out on a limb and say they’re not best friends anymore. A fact that is illustrated in this video when the two teams opened the season. Watch as Ray Allen checks into the game and greets some of his former coaches and players before walking onto the court.
That was frosty. If you weren’t able to see it clearly, here’s a written description:
Garnett doesn’t even flinch or show any inkling of a desire to acknowledge Allen’s existence, which, all things considered is about as Kevin Garnett a way to handle this situation as we could have predicted. Allen greets his former coaches and teammates and offers a congenial slap to the back of the man with whom he won the 2007-08 NBA championship; KG avoids the situation by lapsing into what appears to be an intensity coma.
Now that the scene is set, let’s analyze. I’ll insert my usual disclaimer here and say that I clearly don’t know all the facts and intricate details regarding the friendship between Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen. Perhaps there is more here than meets the eye. From the outside looking in though, it seems pretty clear. Garnett was good friends with Allen up until the point he switched teams and when to the rival team. Now, Garnett does not even acknowledge his existence as seen in the above video.
So, what’s wrong with the situation? There's nothing wrong with being competitive, right? This whole story does bring to light questions like who our friends and enemies are in sports (or in life). And that’s the problem; in sports, we make these lines in the sand. If you’re my teammate, you’re my friend. If you’re my opponent, you are my enemy. “Us” vs. “them.” “Good guys” vs. the “bad guys.” I’m not sure that’s what God would want.
This whole proposition of “us” vs. “them” is really an extension of the naturalist worldview. In other words, sports–just like every other area of my life–is a place to assert my dominance. It’s a representation of the “survival of the fittest” mindset. When you think like this, your opponent (and even at times, your coach and teammates) become the enemy. They become someone to overcome and dominate in order to survive.
This begs the question, what would the Christian framework be for looking at teammates and opponents? To answer this question, you have to go back to the beginning, back to the Garden. What if we saw sports as just another place in this world to unearth treasure - not only in ourselves or our teammates but also in our opponents? And what if we saw unearthing treasure in competition for the glory of God as the ultimate goal? There would be no lines in the sand. No enemies. No bad guys. Only partners in the dance to glorify God.
At the end of the day, this whole episode with Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen is ultimately all about Kevin Garnett. Allen leaving the team hurts the team and thereby hurts his ability to succeed and win. Therefore, he’s mad at Ray Allen. It’s born out of selfishness and proves that the relationship, at least from Garnett’s perspective, was a commodity-based relationship. In other words, he valued Allen as long as he got something out of the relationship. Now, there is nothing to receive from the relationship so he becomes the enemy.
That’s sports. That’s human nature. And, oftentimes as Christians, we are no better.
- Troy Edwards just moved in. Take time to say hey.
- Blake Atwood uploaded a photo
- Courtney Rowland published the blogpost An Ohio Egg Adventure + 10 Tips for Making Great Eggs.
- Lori Fogleman published the blogpost Baylor couple’s HGTV series, ‘Fixer Upper, begins tonight.
- Blake Atwood shared What is a Church Website Strategy?: Does your church have a website strategy? "When people talk about website strategy, the conversation dips into many interesting areas. The problem is that the word strategy means something different to different people. Thus, to have an effective website strategy, you need to define what strategy is. In this article I offer you a framework to define various levels of guidance." Read more from Stephen Morrissey.
- George BullardApril 24th Transform Congregations By Affirming Long Pastorates #365SSIFTC http://bullardjournal.blogs.com/bullardjournal_microblog/2014/04/april-24th-transform-congregations-by-affirming-long-pastorates-365ssiftc.html
- George BullardApril 23rd Transform Congregations By Remembering But Not Repeating History #365SSIFTC http://bullardjournal.blogs.com/bullardjournal_microblog/2014/04/april-23rd-transform-congregations-by-remembering-but-not-repeating-history-365ssiftc.html
- George BullardApril 22nd Transform Congregations By Climbing Out of Ruts #365SSIFTC http://bullardjournal.blogs.com/bullardjournal_microblog/2014/04/april-22nd-transform-congregations-by-climbing-out-of-ruts-365ssiftc.html
- George BullardApril 21st Transform Congregations By Focusing on the Spiritual Transformation on People #365SSIFTC http://bullardjournal.blogs.com/bullardjournal_microblog/2014/04/april-21st-transform-congregations-by-focusing-on-the-spiritual-transformation-on-people-365ssiftc.html
- Elise Hilton published the blogpost Getting chased by the Devil...don't worry: I'm running faster.
- John Mark Miller published the blogpost U: Perceptible Unity – The Mark of Great Art…and Great Lives.
- Brian Jones published the blogpost Was Jesus A Man That The Early Church Turned Into A God?.
- Serena Rice published the blogpost Prayer on the Wind: Day 24 of the April Poetry Challenge.
- adekunle ojobaro just moved in. Take time to say hey.
- Wayne Stiles published the blogpost Quote from Pascal on how to measure our efforts [Quote].
- Adam Smith published the blogpost 21 Things You Need To STOP Saying At Work-Julia Winston.
- Audra Jennings published the blogpost CRITICAL CONDITION Kindle HDX Giveaway from Richard Mabry!.
- Audra Jennings published the blogpost NIGHTLINE’S Dan Harris’ 10% HAPPIER Kindle HDX Giveaway!.
- Mike Liebler published the blogpost The Guys Guide to God, Girls and the Phone in Your Pocket.
- Mike Kim published the blogpost #09: 3 Psychological Weapons of Marketing Influence.
- Jeffrey Totey published the blogpost Movie Producers Donate to Wounded Warriors with Your Help.
- Julio Ribeiro just moved in. Take time to say hey.
- Warren Robison just moved in. Take time to say hey.
- Gary Weed created a new gallery
- Gary Weed just moved in. Take time to say hey.
- Lyn Rossano just moved in. Take time to say hey.
- Tina Jagneaux just moved in. Take time to say hey.
- Jeremy Riley just moved in. Take time to say hey.
- Mike Liebler published the blogpost Flashback: How to Stop Victim Mentality and Thinking in Kids and Teens.
- Walter Bright published the blogpost Divine Healing Will Be Fully Realized When Jesus Returns.
- Brandi McElheney just moved in. Take time to say hey.
- Blake Atwood published the audio If You Want to be Successful, Stop Being So Accessible | Michael Hyatt.
- John Rutledge published the article New study suggests religion can predict sexual behavior.
- Jeff Reiter just moved in. Take time to say hey.
- Candace Andrews just moved in. Take time to say hey.
- Blake Atwood uploaded a photo