You can tell a lot about what a professional athlete brings to his game by looking at his nickname, especially in basketball.
Wilt Chamberlain was The Stilt, Earvin Johnson, Magic, and Michael Jordan, Air.
But David Robinson is The Admiral. David’s nickname comes from his days at the U.S. Naval Academy because of his ability to take charge on the court and lead his teammates to victory.
David lived up to his title when he joined the San Antonio Spurs in the 1989-90 season after serving a required two-year stint in the Navy. Some wondered how long it would take the 7 ft. 1 in., 235-lb. center to get his sea legs among a fleet of NBA heavyweights. But after he scored 26 points in a 109–92 victory over the New Jersey Nets in his rookie year, one of the opposing guards remarked, If he’s still learning the game, I’d hate to see him when he knows it cold.
During his seasons with the Spurs, David has shown over and over just how adept he is at learning the game. He has become one of the dominant centers in pro basketball, mainly because of his superb agility and speed. In 1990 he was named Rookie of the Year; in 1992 he was voted NBA defensive player of the year; in 1995 he was named the NBA’s Most Valuable Player; and he’s a six-time NBA All-Star. On top of all that, he has the distinction of being the only male basketball player to be named to three US Olympic basketball teams, including the 1992 Dream Team. Salute the Admiral, if you please.
David’s success is even more admirable given the fact that he was slow to focus his athletic gifts on basketball in college because of his wide range of interests. He has a background in classical piano, jams on a sax, enjoys golfing and reading science fiction, and says that if he weren’t in basketball he would probably be a scientist, a musician, or a baseball player. So it was unusual for a man of David’s varied interests to devote himself almost entirely to one thing for a couple of months back in 1991–studying the Bible.
The Admiral Finds an Anchor
The Bible. Yes, and David explains why In June [of 1991] “A minister came and talked with me, and he basically said that I wasn’t living a Christian life–that I needed to take my Christian life very seriously. I knew I should have been reading the Bible and trying to learn more about the Lord. June 8 was the day I vowed to commit my life to the Lord. When I did that, the Lord blessed me in a great way. He made me turn all my energies into the Bible.”
David understood that he–like all persons–needed forgiveness to enter into a relationship with God, and that forgiveness comes through trusting in Jesus Christ as one’s Savior. Jesus saves us from our sins–the rebellion that causes us to turn our back on God. Those sins keep us from knowing God and enjoying the forgiveness and eternal life that He longs to give us. In fact, our sins earn us only death, for the Bible says, The wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23).
Christ was sent to take our punishment
But God provided a way to forgive our sins when He sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to die in our place, taking our punishment for us. The Bible also says, Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God (1 Peter 3:18). Christ not only died for us to prove His love, but He also came back to life three days after He was buried to prove His power over death!
For us this means that instead of trying to earn God’s favor by being good or doing good (neither of which makes it with a perfect God), God in His mercy simply wants us to accept the payment that He has provided. The Bible calls that believing in Christ God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life (John 3:16).
The Admiral Bows to the Supreme Commander
David Robinson is an NBA All-Star, the go-to guy in the final, critical minutes of a game, the one who doesn’t back down on the court. And he is also a child of the King, Jesus Christ, David’s Savior.
If the Admiral saw the need for an anchor in his life, and if he found the forgiveness, stability, and purpose he needed in Jesus Christ, shouldn’t you consider Christ, too.
If you would like to know the forgiveness and eternal life that Christ offers freely to all who will trust Him as Savior, you can express the desire of your heart with this short prayer:
God, I know I fall short of what You demand, and I know that nothing I can do will ever be enough to pay for my sins. Right now I trust Your Son, Jesus Christ, as the payment for my sins, and I accept Your free gift of forgiveness and eternal life. Come live in me like You promised, and show me how I can serve You because of all You have done for me. Amen.