Inspiration & Sports

Learning from the Golden State Warriors

Basketball and discipleship mixed well on Black Saturday 

Don Nelson and his apprentice Keith Smart, a one-time PBA import, where he played for San Miguel Beer in the late 1980s

Don Nelson and his apprentice Keith Smart, a one-time PBA import, where he played for San Miguel Beer in the late 1980s

While everyone’s anticipating the meteoric ascent of Lebron James and his Cleveland Cavaliers to the top of the NBA with their red-hot regular season run, the Golden State Warriors, a team in search of identity this season, was showing some signs of what it is capable of doing come the 2009-2010 NBA season.

Golden State coach Don Nelson sat at the team’s bench during the Warriors’ 118-108 destruction of the disoriented Utah Jazz, giving his apprentice and current assistant coach Keith Smart the free hand to call the shots for the injury-depleted Warriors.

Smart, who only had seven healthy players to show, drew the best from his bunch of no-name bench players, pulling off a career-best 21 points from seldom-used rookie Robert Kurz in a game that humiliated Utah stars like Deron Williams and Andrei Kirlenko.

And for the 68-year-old Nelson, Golden State’s victory was a small triumph to his early 2009-2010 NBA season preparation. Already out of playoff contention with their pathetic 29-51 win-loss card, Nelson has said months back that the rebuilding process of the Warriors already started.

For much part of the second half of the season, Nelson has given little exposure to his stars like Stephen Jackson, Jamal Crawford, Corey Maggette and Andres Biedrins so that youngsters like Anthony Morrow, Anthony Randolph and even second-year guard CJ Watson could get the confidence needed for future NBA competition.

The youngsters may commit turnovers that could cost them the game, but Nelson stood pat with his decision, believing that that is the only way to progress and maturity.

Interestingly, Nelson also gave Smart the opportunity to coach the Warriors even though he could only cough out a woeful 9-31 win-loss record as interim coach of the Cavaliers during the remainder of the 2002 season.

Similarly, discipleship can be likened to Nelson’s approach— giving new and upcoming or potential disciple-makers the opportunity to do 1-2-1 with someone or give him a chance to handle a small group meeting.

This brings confidence and boosts their maturity level, thus, breaking the myth of maturity. If you’re just a few days or weeks old Christian, you can still disciple someone, be it your classmate, your officemate or your brother.

There’s no such thing as “I’m-still-waiting-for-my-time-to-be-mature”, because reality is, that will never happen.


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