I am not a fan of the NBA. Back in the day…I was a Pistons fan. I remember watching the playoffs on my sister’s bed cheering on Isaiah Thomas and Dennis Rodman. Those guys were the ones I got behind. As time passed, I gravitated more towards football and baseball.
These days my nephew eats up watching the NBA much like I did at his age. He has jerseys of guys he wants to be like athletically. Often in this ever growing culture of ego and showmanship, I worry that he’s seeing the wrong things to be like. I worry that this world is teaching him it’s better to be loud, to fault others, and never stand up for faith and integrity…a very “me” mentality in life. (my sister and bro-in-law talk through these things with him often, so I am sure they worry much more than I do as his aunt)
Then moments like this week happen. Where I see a guy stand up to accept an individual trophy-the most valuable player in the professional basketball league-and look to others, exhibit gratitude, share his faith, and be a model I pray my nephews see in this world.
Kevin Durant shared so much in his speech. He demonstrated what humility looks like, and how it often is a hard task when on a large stage of professional athletics. He commented time and again about how community, the people he surrounds himself with pour into his life and he’s able to then share the same. His faith matters. His family is integral to who he is now. He remembers the small gestures and the hard days. Yet here he stands pointing to others that made it possible for him to be where he is…not once saying it was about him and all he had done, but about the other and about God.
One line that stuck out to me was this: “We are all a work in progress as men.” It was a statement he made to the administration of the Oklahoma City Thunder, referencing himself as well as his teammates. For me, it was a reminder that I am a work in progress as are my nephews, my students, my colleagues and my friends. We all are. I think we forget that. We expect perfection of ourselves, of others, all the time. In fact, we’re all under construction. We just need reminding that we are a masterpiece, that is not quite finished.