Yesterday, the legendary Tim Duncan of the San Antonio Spurs retired from a 19-year career in the NBA. Respectful compliments and honoring statements have been pouring in because of his accomplishments on the floor, and for the way he carried himself as a player. NBA commissioner Adam Silver said, “His understated selflessness made him the ultimate teammate.”
Although Duncan will go down as one of the greatest players to ever step on a basketball court, he wasn’t the type of star who made it about him. You never heard him complaining about his minutes or his number of shots or even his salary. He didn’t make demands, took less money so the team could add other players, was loyal, and wasn’t self-centered.
Duncan was always one of the best, but didn’t have to remind the media of that and point to the crowd to make sure they knew how great he was (like so many do). He was about winning and playing his role within the team. Tim Duncan is known for being a truly selfless player.
Wall Street Journal’s Jason Gay wrote, “Toward the end, Duncan was used less, but he always mattered. He would have mattered if he played until he was 60. He was the center of that selfless Spurs universe. He fit in with whatever San Antonio wanted to do, with whomever they brought in, and he departs his franchise in very competitive condition.”
I’ll admit Duncan wasn’t my favorite player to watch, but I think his selflessness is something to be admired. People who care about others and think beyond themselves aren’t easy to come by, but they are the ones we are easily drawn to. I’m not surprised that Duncan’s teammates loved playing with him.
Duncan’s demeanor is a worthy challenge for us to consider in our own lives. Are we more selfless or selfish? Do we only think about our own happiness or do we consider contributing to someone else’s? Do we always make sure our voice is heard or do we listen to others? Do we take a step back and let another person shine and get credit for something or do we always demand the recognition?
The Bible says in Philippians 2:3-4 (ESV), “Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.”
When Jesus walked this earth, He laid down His life on the cross for us in an ultimate act of selflessness. In response to that, we should also want to be known for our selflessness by dying to our own selfish desires, living with humility, and loving others. I’m Bryce Johnson and you can unpack that!
PRAYER: Heavenly Father, forgive me for the days and moments that I’m filled with selfishness. Please give me a heart that puts others ahead of my own selfish desires. Give me the strength to be selfless and humble. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.