Jewish Journal

Lakers vs. Magic: Does God care who wins?

by Brad A. Greenberg

June 4, 2009 | 9:18 pm

The NBA Finals between the Los Angeles Lakers and Orland Magic will tip-off in about 10 minutes. You know this if you’re in L.A. because for the past week you’ve seen Lakers flags sticking out of SUV windows and for the first time all season a lot of locals seem to own Laker gear.

I was pulling for the Cleveland Cavaliers and King James, but now that they’re out I don’t really care who wins it all. Each team has interesting stories on their roster.

The Magic’s superman is, by all accounts, a good, wholesome Christian. The Lakers back-up point guard is the league’s only Jew. And then there’s Kobe Bryant, a man who has finally achieved the public redemption he’s been looking for since the summer of 2003.

So what does God think? Is he a purple-and-gold Guy or does he bleed, if God bled, blue?

I’d say neither. And Jon Gordon, who appears to be a life coach, seems to agree in his new book, “Training Camp: What the Best Do Better Than Everyone Else,” which is a fictional account of an undrafted NFL player. From a press release I got a few weeks ago:

“It’s not about who wins or loses that God is interested in, but rather the stories and the life lessons that we would learn from sports,” says Gordon. “After all, why wouldn’t God use one of the biggest stages on earth to teach us the ultimate life lessons about character, commitment, excellence, and overcoming failure and defeat?

“With sports we see people, like characters in the Bible, who are flawed and yet who make us cheer,” he adds. “We see players make mistakes and fall from grace while others come back against all odds and redeem themselves. It’s the ultimate reality show. Story is how God teaches and molds us, and the huge sports stage is simply another way God communicates to us.”


“Through reading the Bible and everyday life experiences, I’ve learned that God doesn’t pick the best,” Gordon says. “He picks the most willing. Then He shapes you, molds you, and trains you through the Training Camp of life. God doesn’t care who wins or loses the Super Bowl. What He cares most about are the process, the stories, the lessons, and the person you become as you strive to be your best and bring out the best in others.”

That’s pretty uncontroversial and, I’d say, hard to argue with. All I know is it’s been a long season, and I’m ready for football.

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Since launching the blog in 2007, I’ve referred to myself as “a God-fearing Christian with devilishly good Jewish looks.” The description, I’d say, is an accurate one,...

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