Let me put the question in terms we can all understand: Can you imagine Michael Jordan charging into the stands? The answer is no. And there was never a player with a stronger competitive nature than Jordan. Can you imagine Larry Bird or Magic Johnson doing what Ron Artest did? Same anger. Wilt Chamberlain or Bill Russell? Same answer. What about Dennis Rodman? Well, that's a different story, but the difference makes my point. Self-discipline is the heart and soul of greatness. It certainly takes talent to play in the NBA, and it takes super-talent to become a superstar. But it takes more than talent. There has to be a focus and a desire to excel and a willingness to play through distractions and the kind of self-discipline that keeps you from charging the fans because they throw a cup of liquid on you.
The fans who threw the cups, and especially the person who threw the chair, and the idiots who ran out on the court to fight with the players should be prosecuted. Put them in jail if need be. But that's a secondary issue.
Would Michael Jordan do what Ron Artest did? The answer is plain, and that's why Ron Artest will never be like Mike.
I have no problem with athletes being paid millions of dollars. If you can get someone to pay you that kind of money to play basketball, it's fine with me. But when you cash your check, realize that you owe something to the game and to you team and to fans everywhere.
These wise words from Solomon seem especially appropriate today: "A man's wisdom gives him patience; it is to his glory to overlook an offense" (Proverbs 19:11).
To sign up for Pastor Ray's free weekly sermon email list, click here. You can find his daily weblog, online sermons, travel schedule, and other resources at www.keepbelieving.com. You can write Pastor Ray at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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About Dr. Ray Pritchard
Dr. Ray Pritchard is the president of Keep Believing Ministries, in Internet-based ministry serving Christians in 225 countries. He is the author of 27 books, including Stealth Attack, Fire and Rain, Credo, The Healing Power of Forgiveness, An Anchor for the Soul and Why Did This Happen to Me? Ray and Marlene, his wife of 37 years, have three sons-Josh, Mark and Nick, two daughters-in-law--Leah and Vanessa, and two grandsons--Knox and Eli. His hobbies include biking, surfing the Internet, and anything related to the Civil War.
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