Referee.com shares a story about Wesley Theological Seminary members serving as chaplains to Northern Virginia’s Cardinal Basketball Officials Association (CBOA), “an organization of amateur basketball officials from all walks of life.” The clergy members are responding everywhere to support people suffering from the many COVID-19 related stressors of the past 18 months: illness, grief, job loss and more. Love’em or hate’em: referees are people, too.

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The latest game of the most popular Basketball franchise is out and cover star Luka Dončić celebrates the honor on Twitter:

In his chosen home of Dallas, fans pay homage to Luka in a manner worthy of a Savior:

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Space Jam: A New Legacy is here! What a great chance to rewatch the 1996 original. The greatest players of their day get all their skills sucked out of them by aliens. They try everything to get them back, including prayer:

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Layshia Clarendon is a point guard in the WNBA. ESPN produced a beautiful cover story of their journey through basketball, faith, and gender identity. Layshia couldn’t fit in a sexual binary until finally they found peace and empowerment in embracing God’s unboxed love. Now, the Minnesota Lynx can say, “I’m really grateful for God for not letting me stay there.”

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FanHouse features Kobe Bryant, Shaquille O’Neal, NFL star Shawne Merriman and entertainers who want to wish you a Happy Hanukkah:

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Basketball fans in Sassari – Sardinia’s second largest city – were recently treated to a special halftime show. A group of nuns, monks and priests performed a routine to disco music while wearing traditional robes and habits. The group is on a tour of Italian discos and nightclubs to spread the message of Christianity to young people.
via MoonDogSports
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Every year on December 7th, the guys at Basketbawful celebrate the greatest of all holidays: Birdmas (originally “Bird Mass”).
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Tommy Craggs at Slate focuses on the marketing genius of USA Basketball’s “Redeem Team.”

Conclusion: “Team USA is a Boy Scout troop in basketball shorts: trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean, reverent.”

The latter meaning that Kobe and friends are reverent toward God. They are faithful in their religious duties. They respect the beliefs of others.
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TIME takes you on a world tour to introduce you to the most compelling athletes you’ll be seeing in the Beijing Games. Out of their 100 we picked the most spiritual ones. Here’s our Top 4:

# 1 LeBron James, U.S., Basketball
LeBron thinks of the Beijing Games: “It’s going to be like waking up on Christmas Day.” Oh and by the way: James has already had his political baptism by fire.

# 6 Allyson Felix, U.S., Sprints
She’s the ideal savior — young and telegenic, with a smile as wide as a hurdle. She’s participating in a pilot program, Project Believe, in which athletes undergo extensive blood and urine analyses that go beyond the World Anti-Doping Agency’s guidelines. If Felix is doping, you might just as well put down the starting guns for good.

# 7 Shawn Johnson, U.S., Gymnastics
She’s the Muse of the Mats, texting poems with lines like these:
“You remember the struggles and pain you had
When all the good had turned to bad
When behind the scenes you crumbled and prayed
For it all to simply just go away”

#11 Asafa Powell, Jamaica, Sprints
The son of pastors, he is one of the few among the many famous Jamaican sprinters who has not emigrated.

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Why do the Jazz have such a home court advantage?
To answer this question ESPN NBA analyst Ric Bucher plays the ‘Mormon’ card. Bucher was kind of misled: Less than 50% of Salt Lake City‘s residents are mormons. The nonstop smilers live some miles south of SLC, in happy valley. There are no numbers available as how many Jazz fans live in happy valley, sorry.
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