Friday, December 26, 2008

The Difference of Six Inches and a 100 Million $'s

Five years ago my son was the MVP of a basketball tournament where his team, Oklahoma Athletes First, took first place. Kade Burleson, pictured on the back row far right, played guard in the tournament and averaged 24 points. At the time, Kade was 14 years of age and was 6'3" tall. Kade went on to play high school ball at 6A Enid High, earning All-Conference honors and honorable mention All-State. Kade played one year of college ball, but decided this year to concentrate on his business studies and transferred to Oklahoma University with the goal of entering the OU business college next year.

Kade's teammate on that AAU team - pictured standing on the back row, far left (opposite of Kade) - was a 6'4" forward from Oklahoma City. The young man, named Blake, was not very aggressive offensively at the time. He was averaging abuut 10 points a game. Blake had recently joined the team, and his mom or dad usually attended the games, but for family reasons, neither one were able to be at this particular tournament. In the hotel lobby before the championship game, I pulled young Blake aside and told him we needed him to be more aggressive offensively. I encouraged him when he got the ball inside to reverse pivot and go strong to the basket. I told him I felt there was nobody on the court who could stop him. Blake took my advice and scored 22 agressive points in the championship game and was also named to the all-tournament team.

My son stopped growing in height after his freshman year. Blake continued to grow and is now pushing 6'11" and most consider him best college basketball player in the nation. Blake Griffin is averaging 24 points and 15 rebounds at the University of Oklahoma as a true sophomore. It is projected he will be the first player taken in the draft next year and could sign a contract well over $100 million dollars in the first five years of his NBA career.

My son is home for Christmas and I made a couple of observations as we remembered that fun basketball summer of five years ago.

(1). I wish everybody in the SBC would listen to me like Blake Griffin did (wink).

(2). There are thousands and thousands of 6'3" guards. There are very few 6'10" posts.

(3). There are thousands and thousands of basketball players. Sadly, it seems there are not near as many committed to Jesus Christ.

(3). The most important six inches in life are not those that go up in terms of height, but the six inches that extend from the head to the heart. I told my son that I wouldn't trade him and the heart he has for people and the Lord Jesus Christ for any other man on the face of the earth. My son asked, "Even for 100 million dollars?" I said, "Even for all the wealth in the world."

(4). One of these days EVERYONE will realize the truth of Scripture - "For a man's real life in no way depends upon the number of his possessions." —Luke 12:15

Just a few random thoughts today before I head out in this 70 degree weather and play a little golf.

In His Grace,



Anonymous said...

Good life lessons.

Hit them long and straight.

Please post your score.


Bob Cleveland said...


So I Googled your name, see, and got "about 32,900" hits.

Although I'd never heard "Blake Griffin" before, I Googled his name too.

"About 379,000" (when I used Internet Explorer, 423,000!)

Anonymous said...

I am glade "Blake Griffin" took your advice. I have watch him on the TV and he is getting better each time I see him play.
Now it would be better if some of the SBC world (those in charge) would take your advice.
Keep on keeping on.

John Daly said...

Although I don't know his final disposition in terms of eterninty; Steve Prefontaine, was a distance running stud bar none. In my garage is a poster of him with the saying: "To give anything less than your best is to sacrifice the gift." When you combine your gift with hard work and dedication then you are one tough customer, i.e., Blake.

In regards to hoop players who are committed Christians, I think of AC Green who used to play with the Lakers and Chip Ingram (Living on the Edge). Also Pistol Pete became a Believer later on in life too.

For those who have been given the gift of repentance, let us not "waste," it. Far too many Believers live in what Teddy Roosevelt called that gray twilight that neither knows victory nor defeat.

Joe Blackmon said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

If the Lord is willing, 2009 is a new year. Everyone, with His help, do better. Be better. Speak and type better. It could be the year we have to look Him in the eye, in Heaven, and tell why we failed to if we don't. And it won't matter how tall anyone is or how straight he hit a shot; no one will escape His notice.

Happy New Year!

Anonymous said...

Wow. Great post and story.

I'll be rooting for our very young (and very few) Hogs against your Sooners in a few days.

And, I just wanted to be the first to say HAPPY BIRTHDAY on your blog. I'm two hours early, but I'm quite sure December 27, 2008, will be one of your best birthdays ever.

Bob Cleveland said...


I heard two things long ago that made a difference to me; they suggest your son is on the right track.

1) If you want to lay up a treasure in Heaven, you have to invest in something that's going to Heaven, and that's only people. Souls.

2) I've never seen a Brinks Truck in a funeral procession.

Anonymous said...


Are you a runner? It's fun to go on Youtube and watch some of Prefontaine's runs. I also recommend Bowerman and the Men of Oregon. It is a great book.

Joe Blackmon:

Anyone who recognizes the genius of Charlie Parker has to be a first rate guy.


Anonymous said...

Arkansas Razorbacks!

Woo Pig Sooie!!!