Give great. Become great. Be great.

Friday, September 11, 2009

It may come us a surprise, being the avid college football fan that I am, that my roots are actually in basketball. I certainly never played, but I grew up in a family full of boys that loved basketball, and the squeak of shoes on the court was a familiar noise emitted from our living room TV on any given night October through June.

So, Tyler may have been surprised while he was flipping through channels tonight, that he was met with no objections when he stopped on the 2009 Basketball Hall of Fame induction ceremony. I watched the screen and saw in the crowd faces of the basketball greats from my childhood. Isaiah Thomas, Scottie Pippen, Charles Barkley, John Stockton, David Robinson, Pat Riley, Phil Jackson and yes...Michael Jordon.

I wasn't initially sure who the inductees were, but I watched with interest as they streamed nostalgic footage of legendary games and interviews with former players and coaches of the inductees. And one by one, I was moved by the speeches given by those players and coaches, many of the greats of my childhood, now deemed the greatest in our history.

Specifically, David Robinson, John Stockton, and C. Vivian Stringer delivered captivating speeches, surprising me in their humility. Sure, we all know it's the polite thing to do give that "Aww shucks, me? Really?" look, but this wasn't some surface level act for the cameras. These inductees were being honored for a body of work, a lifetime of effort, practice and hard work, combined with God-given skill that took them to the greatest heights of worldly success. This was their moment.

And David Robinson looked his children in their eyes and specifically told them how proud he was of them, how each of them individually contributed to their family and communities. One by one, when it was his time to shine, he told the world what made each of his kids special.

John Stockton did the same, individually speaking to his wife and children. He called his wife of 23 years "his best decision." He referenced members in the audience there to support him-- childhood neighbors, coaches, and teammates with whom he'd maintained relationships over 30 and 40 years.

C. Vivian Stringer-- she should just quit coaching altogether and become a motivational speaker. She spoke to her sisters, who took her family in, fed them, and cared for them in the months following her husband's death. She spoke of her worst teams over the years and how they all became great. She unequivocally credited God for every gift and talent she possessed.

And every single inductee thanked their parents, fully crediting them for who they had become.

It was their moment. Their time. And all they could talk about was the greatness of other people in their lives. To have success within a particular arena is not just about your talent and skill, but about greatness in your life outside of it. These inductees were not just great athletes or coaches, but great parents, great neighbors, and great teammates.

It was reflected in the humility of their words, the presence of their families, and the praise of those who'd witnessed their lives.

Give great. Become great. Be great.

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