Who gets the last shot?

Who gets the last shot?

Jun 24, 2013

Who gets the last shot?

by Kevin Butler


Five “Most Valuable Player” awards. Six NBA Championships. Six Finals MVP awards. Fourteen-time All Star. Ten scoring titles.

With numbers and accomplishments like this, many would call Michael Jordan the greatest basketball player, ever. And certainly Michael Jordan thought so. Even when he wasn’t playing basketball full-time.

After Jordan’s “first retirement” in 1993 at the age of 30, he decided to try his hand at professional baseball. Mind you, he hadn’t played organized baseball since high school.

He signed to play with the Birmingham Barons, a minor league affiliate of the Chicago White Sox. The team was managed by Terry Francona. (A decade later, Francona would guide the Boston Red Sox to their first World Series title in 86 years.)

While both men were in Birmingham, they forged a solid friendship and a healthy respect for each other. “He was good to every player and every coach,” Francona remembers. “And we got to see him with his guard down.”


p.27 michael jordan swing CLR p.27 MJordan dunk



Jordan never hit for a high average and had his struggles in the field. He kept pushing to get better. But it wasn’t like basketball—the game he still loved.

While being interviewed for his new book, Francona: The Red Sox Years, the baseball manager recalled a “pickup” basketball game with His Airness:

“We were out in the Fall League in Arizona, and it started out as just a little bit of shooting around. One thing led to another, and we started playing games. The games got a little bit more competitive and I was getting a little tired, so I shot—made a long shot near the end of the game. It hit the rim real hard and bounced towards the middle of the court. Curtis Pride was a player on the other team, went down and scored, and the game was over. I was kind of glad because I was tired.

“As I was walking off the court, I heard the ball rattling off the window, and Michael had kicked it! He was mad. He walked up behind me and goes, ‘Hey, man, I always shoot last.’ And I didn’t really quite grasp what he said, so he said it again. I was like, ‘Well, you know, this isn’t on TV.’ He goes, ‘I don’t care. I always shoot last.’”

“And I said, ‘Well, now you know how I feel when I watch you try to hit a curveball.’

“He took about two steps and he just hit the floor. I mean, he liked—he genuinely liked—being treated like everybody else, and he really liked being one of the guys.”

When it came to basketball, Michael Jordan really wasn’t “one of the guys.” He liked being in control, calling the play, drawing the attention, getting the ball, and making the shot.

Does that sound like you? Do you always like to be in the driver’s seat? Do you always have to shoot last?

When it comes to our salvation, God “shoots last.” He is the One in control; it is His play, His call, His world, His heaven.

Let God rightfully sit on the throne, then allow—and welcome—Him to direct your life.

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