The most saintly thing you can do on a basketball court

It has been almost a week since “King James” and his Miami Heat won the NBA championship.  Many folks are comparing LeBron to the next Michael, the new Kobe and some even go as far as to compare him to Jesus Christ.

Like Nike:

And again, Nike

But there is one member of the Miami Heat that is more Christlike in his actions, in my opinion.  He doesn’t get many headlines, but Shane Battier’s skills embody Christianity better than anyone else in the game.

Let me explain.

The Gospel of John lays out the basic bulwark that is needed to be like Christ:

“Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.” ~John 15:13

Self sacrifice, then, is the foundation of Christianity.  We must imitate Christ and sacrifice ourselves like He did so that others benefit from our loss.  That is what Jesus wanted us to know when He washed His disciples feet, when He said “The first will be last and the last will be first,” and when He was nailed to the cross.

That is what Shane Battier does every time he takes a charge on defense.  Taking charges is the most saintly thing a basketball player can do on the court because it is the ultimate in self sacrifice.  Sure, LeBron can get assists on the offensive end, but nothing compares to Christ like the sacrifice of the body when taking a charge. The only thing that even comes close is when Spud Webb needs to switch off and guards Manute Bol

or when George Muresan backs down Muggsy Bogues.

Taking charges, like Christianity, has been given an unjust connotation.  People think that it is merely a “flop” or, worse yet, a form of weakness and shouldn’t be allowed in a game that favors intense up-and-down the court movement.  Many feel that any interruption to this flow is contrary to the game’s essence.

Sounds familiar.  A lot of people thought Christ’s teachings went against the flow of the Jewish law.  And look how He ended up:


I see little difference…

God bless Shane Battier, one of the more Christ-like players in the NBA. Congrats on your accomplishments.

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