Am I an Other-Centered Teammate?’s NBA blogger, Henry Abbott, wrote this line about former college basketball standout, one of tonight’s lottery picks, two-time national champion at the University of Florida, Joakim Noah:

David has been using Joakim Noah, in conversations over the last two or so years, as the prime example of a great teammate. His biggest point is look: every time the TV cameras are on, there’s Joakim talking up someone besides himself. And it’s true. It’s always: look how great Corey Brewer is. Look how great Al Horford is. Let me tell you how hard my dad worked. Stuff like that.

David is of the opinion, and I’m inclined to agree, that it’s a rare player indeed who makes it his primary mission to lift up his teammates. And players like that are catalysts for teams that are teams.

I read this and realized two things very quickly:

1. I am not this kind of teammate.
I’m not often “talking up someone besides myself” or making it my “primary mission to lift up my teammates.” I love basketball, and I love my summer league teammates. They are great guys. They really are. I genuinely enjoy being around them. But when someone asks me about last week’s game, I say something like, “We lost. I didn’t play well.” I have almost nothing good to say about any specific teammates. This is terrible, and a terrible witness for Jesus.

2. This particular “great teammate” is most likely not a Christian.
I don’t know Joakim Noah personally, but, from everything I’ve ever heard him say about his off-the-court time at UF, his life certainly doesn’t show an overwhelming love for Jesus. I won’t go into details, but anybody who’s watched the last two NCAA men’s basketball tourneys knows what I mean. Joakim is simply concerned about other things.

So I was forced to ask myself some hard questions:

  • Since I love Jesus, why am I not a more loving teammate?
  • Why am I not more thankful when I play basketball?
  • Why don’t I point out God’s graces in others more often than I talk about myself?
  • How have I failed to apply the word of the cross to my own life?

Lord Jesus, please apply Your Gospel to my heart by Your Spirit and make me a thankful, encouraging, loving, unifying, and humble Christian and teammate.


About B Treece
loved by God before I ever loved Him, saved by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone by the authority of the Bible alone to the glory of God alone, made to enjoy Him forever, happily married with wonder-filled children.

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