Sorry I Couldn’t Concentrate During Church Worship This Morning

Life, Sports

Hillsong LA

A tall guy in a backwards snapback snuck into the Belasco Theatre from the left of the stage in the middle of the opening worship songs during the 11 a.m. Hillsong LA service. He was non-disruptive, no one noticed.  But I did. This guy was towering over the two other men that walked in with him.

Then, I caught a side profile of him, and he really looked like Kevin Durant — as in 2014 NBA MVP Kevin Durant. I kept glancing over to the front row where he stood, each song passed and I tried to catch a better look.

Hillsong is similar to most Christian churches in that there is a point in the beginning where you’re urged to introduce yourself to those around you. Finally, the mysterious tall guy turned around, and surely it was Durant. While no one around me seemed to realize the great baller standing smack dab in the middle of the front row, I could recognize that face from a mile away. He left in the middle of the closing worship songs, the same way he entered. He swiftly and quietly hugged and fist bumped a few guys as he passed while exiting.

I’m guessing he was there to support the guest pastor from the New York City Hillsong, Carl Lentz. The two have photos together on both of their Instagram accounts. In the following snapshot, KD writes, “Shoutout my bruv @carllentz ! Happy birthday, love u man!”

And here’s one of the two catching some breakfast together with KD smiling.

The first reaction you may have to those photos is that this pastor is working for the wrong reasons, and that there is no way he’s a real pastor. Anderson Cooper touched on those skeptical views in a segment he did for Anderson Cooper 360º called, “Inside Hillsong’s ‘hipster’ church.” 

I challenge you to think otherwise. The way I see it, Lentz hanging out with the likes of Durant, Carmelo Anthony, Tyson Chandler and Landry Fields (I’m sure there are more athletes/actors/etc.) demonstrates that these big names are human. They need spiritual guidance as well.

To those who say that flashy pastors and concert-like worship sessions shouldn’t count as “church,” I ask, “Why not?” Matthew 18:20 says that God is present where two or three gather in his name. If the pastor happens to be tatted up, an NBA All-Star happens to drop in, the service happens to be held in a theater, that’s all circumstance. The truth lies in the motives, as it does in everything in life.

Anyway, Lentz gave an incredible message about Psalm 23 titled “Like it or not,” I caught a glimpse of Durant. I’m overly excited for the next NBA season, despite the fact that the 2014 NBA Draft hasn’t even happened yet. And I highly recommend Hillsong if you’re interested in checking out a church.

 

 

Kings prove sports are awesome

Sports

I remember when the LA Kings were down 3-0 to the San Jose Sharks. At the time I was interning for NBCLA Sports, and I befriended a security guard who was a huge hockey fan from Michigan. I’m new to the world of hockey, so I would talk to him a lot and pick his brain. He told me that out of all the teams in the NHL, he would never want to face the Sharks in the first round. He said they’re the type of team to put up a hell of a fight.

Little did we know at the time, this Kings team is incredibly special. They rallied back, beat the Sharks and advanced to the next round to face crosstown rivals, the Anaheim Ducks. That round rocked Los Angeles, pushing to the brink of seven games — the Kings prevailed again. Then, off to Chicago they went to face the Chicago Blackhawks where — surprise, surprise — they hit yet another Game 7 and yet another clutch win.

Finally, against the New York Rangers — West Coast vs. East Coast — the Kings took control, jumping up 3-0. Tonight, following Game 5, they hoisted the Stanley Cup trophy after a grueling, nail-biting double overtime.

Defensive veteran Willie Mitchell told NBCLA’s Mario Solis postgame: “We scratched and clawed. It’s pretty damn cool.”

Cut to Puig:

 

#KamanLikeAWreckingBall

Sports

Stuntin’ the Sunday whites, 10-year veteran Chris Kaman carried the Lakers to a 115-99 win over the Phoenix Suns. Get this stat line: season-high 28 points, 17 rebounds and six assists.

He hammered down a dunk, sunk a step-back jumper, swept the boards and hit guards on the run. All of which warranted him the hashtag #KamanLikeAWreckingBall — I know, brilliant, right?

That’s the same guy who played six minutes, notching dos points and a single rebound in LA’s embarrassing 143-107 collapse against the Minnesota Timberwolves two days ago.

That’s also the same guy who blew me off when I asked for his autograph as a middle schooler. The basketball league that I played in did a shooting tournament once a year at Staples Center before Clipper games. Each team could send two shooters.

kamaaaannnnnnn

It was around 2005 or 2006 when I was chosen to go. And it was awesome! Having the opportunity to actually be on an NBA court was incredible. We ended up taking third place (hence the medals). They told us that we’d get to meet a Clipper player.

As I hoped and wished Elton Brand would step out, we got Kaman instead. Cool, I guess. He was their center. I knew who he was at the time, so when my teammate and I went to take a photo with him, we naturally asked for an autograph.

“No,” he said. “Because then everyone else will want one and it won’t be fair.”

He crushed my dreams. Wow, dude. You can’t spare a couple signatures? You’re not Elton Brand. You’re no superstar. (Those were my thoughts in that moment.)

Ever since then, I’ve labeled him as the “mean guy who wouldn’t give me an autograph.” But now here we are. Caveman Kaman, 31 years old, in purple and gold. I honestly thought he was long gone, and that he’d wither away on a bench somewhere random. Instead, he decides to put a smile on everyones’ faces (including mine) and have an All-Star performance.

What I’m trying to say here is, “I see you, Chris. Keep doing you.” But please, if a little kid asks you for an autograph, just do it.

Let the trash talk begin

Sports

Nash and Sacre

I know, I know. It’s the preseason. Only 21 games that don’t really matter have happened. I told myself I wouldn’t get too excited.

But then I turned on the tail end of the Brooklyn-Wizards game yesterday. And then Glen Rice Jr. had a dunk at the buzzer to send the game into OT. After that I watched the Lakers take on the Nuggets, and barely recognized their roster (I’m all caught up now).

So now I’ll dedicate my life to the NBA, once again, as I do every year come fall. The battle between game times and homework assignments begins, usually resulting in late nights; sometimes from busting out papers or cramming for tests, other times they’re from being too pumped up off a close game to sleep. Heat-Spurs Game 6, I was buzzing well past 2 a.m.

From the two preseason games I’ve seen thus far, here’s my quick take in seven sentences:

The Lakers show promise. I’m sad Metta is gone. Purple and yellow has given Nick Young superpowers. Xavier has a cool name pronunciation. Sacre has cool tattoos. Chris Kaman defied my expectations. Jason Kidd looks weird as the head honcho in a suit.

As far as I’m concerned, the NBA season is officially underway.

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