We’re taking a break from the bad news that can so easily dominate our attention, such as riots, earthquakes, and gay wedding cakes.
It’s not that these things aren’t important, but they aren’t the only things worthy of our notice. There are other, often sublime, things that remind us that when God created the world and us, He called it “good.” Things like a child’s laughter, music, art, poetry, and the sweet sound of a basketball hitting nothing but net.
In the NBA playoffs, on April 23rd, the Golden State Warriors trailed the New Orleans Pelicans by 20 points after three quarters. It looked hopeless—the franchise’s record in games when they trailed by twenty or more points after three quarters was 0-and-356.
But this night would be different. Led by their MVP candidate, Stephen Curry, the Warriors cut the Pelicans’ lead to 3 with 9.6 seconds to go. They inbounded the ball to Curry who missed a shot, which teammate Marreese Speights rebounded. Speights passed the ball to Curry in the corner and Curry, despite being knocked down by two New Orleans players, hit the tying shot and, as they say, “broke the internet.”
After that, the outcome of the game and the series was a foregone conclusion.
The spectacular play has entered basketball lore as “the shot.” But that’s not why I’m telling you about Stephen Curry. To understand why, you’ve got to look at Curry’s shoes. I’m not kidding.
The outside of the tongue reads “4:13.” The inside of the tongue reads “I can do all things.” As you may have guessed, both are references to Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”
At the unveiling of the shoe, Curry was asked about the references, to which he replied “that’s a good question. I’m glad you asked.” He then proceeded to explain their meaning. He told reporters that “It represents a Bible verse I wear on my shoe . . . It’s also my mantra, how I get up for games and why I play the way I do.”
He added that he switched shoe companies so that he could use this platform to share his faith.
It seems to be working. His shoes rank second to Lebron James’ in sales. Of course, it helps that, in the words of Terry Mattingly, Curry’s play is “so-hot-he-might-hurt-your-eyes.”
But look anyway because you might miss something, such as the way he points his right index finger upward after hitting a shot. It’s a practice he began in college at his mother’s suggestion: an outward sign and internal reminder that “God gets all the glory for his success.”
As Curry told Decision magazine, “I’ve been put here for a specific purpose: to be a witness and to share my testimony as I go through it.”
Again, it seems to be working.
His teammate Harrison Barnes called Curry “probably one of the most humble superstars I’ve ever met,” and added “A lot of that is based on his faith. He’s a guy who not only talks it; he lives it. I think he garners a lot of respect in this locker room because of that.”
And not just respect. Another teammate, David Lee, credits Curry’s witness with playing “an integral role” in Lee’s “decision to put God at the center of his life.”
And that kind of impact is even sweeter than a Stephen Curry jump shot.
— by Eric Metaxas
Metaxas is currently the voice of Breakpoint, a radio commentary (www.breakpoint.org). Copyright© 2015 Prison Fellowship Ministries. Reprinted with permission. BreakPoint is a ministry of Prison Fellowship Ministries.