My NBA D-League Elevator Pitch – New Evangelization in Action!

Now who is going to harm you if you are enthusiastic for what is good? But even if you should suffer because of righteousness, blessed are you. Do not be afraid or terrified with fear of them, but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts. Always be ready to give an explanation to anyone who asks you for a reason for your hope, but do it with gentleness and reverence, keeping your conscience clear, so that, when you are maligned, those who defame your good conduct in Christ may themselves be put to shame. For it is better to suffer for doing good, if that be the will of God, than for doing evil. 1 Peter 3:13-17

Basketball and Faith… a good combination…

Today, I had one of the most bizarrely wonderful New Evangelization experiences. When it happened, it was like time slowed down for a moment.

Let me set the scene. First of all, I’m exhausted. My alarm went off at 2:48 am and my body somehow got itself here to Reno, Nevada for a speaking engagement tomorrow with the Catholic Professional & Business Group here. I love my topic, which is “Personal Productivity and Spirituality”. But I’m tired, really, really tired…

So my wonderful host helped me to check in to the very cool hotel where I’m staying (the Silver Legacy downtown). Shortly after arriving, I started to notice the large number of incredibly tall men in various parts of the hotel. I’m talking very tall!

I finally broke down and asked someone and learned that the hotel is host to this week’s NBA D-League Showcase. So those super tall guys? All semi-pro players here showing off their skills and abilities. My plans to go to the gym and run on the treadmill like an old lady suddenly seemed a bit ridiculous. But hey, maybe the pros need some comic diversion while they exercise.

So back to the elevator. I found myself in it, and since my room is on a high floor I was in conversation with one very nice young player and his coach. I asked about the showcase and then they asked what I was doing in Reno. The conversation went something like this:

NBA Guys: “What are you doing in Reno?”

Me: “I’m here speaking to a group tomorrow morning.”

NBA Coach: “So you’re like a motivational speaker. That’s cool! What do you speak about?”

Me: (Taking a deep breath and realizing we’re about to get to their floor) “God!” (Spoken with big smile, like Pope Francis big… expecting them to immediately scramble out of the elevator)

NBA Young Player: “So tell me more about this…” (holding door)

Me: “So I’m speaking about Spiritually and Productivity — how an active faith life and a love for God helps your life be more fruitful and productive.”

NBA Young Player: “Wow. Do you have a website?” (Pulls smartphone out of very tall pocket…)

Me: “Yes, CatholicMom.com – drop by any time! And good luck with the Showcase. You’ll be in my prayers!” (Giggles as he departs, phone in hand, clicking away…)

Seriously, I doubt that the twenty five seconds we spent in the elevator will revolutionize this guy’s basketball career, or his life. But I had a very wonderful daydream as I climbed the rest of the floors to my room, thinking about how fun it was to share my faith in such a unique way. I daydreamed about this very tall young man, realizing perhaps through the instant of time that we spent together that his talent is a true gift from God. Then I pondered how amazing it might be to prayerfully slam dunk a basketball in front of a roaring crowd and then offer it up as a gift to the Source of All Good.

I also pondered how many times in this same situation I would have just smiled politely while looking at my own phone in the elevator, never engaging the other folks around me. Don’t get me wrong — I’m not going to become that crazy lady who starts riding elevators non-stop, quoting the Bible.

But I am going to be on the lookout for future “elevator pitch” moments for God.

Always be ready to give an explanation to anyone who asks you for a reason for your hope…

A question for you: Where is the most unusual place you’ve ever shared your faith?

About Lisa M. Hendey

Lisa Hendey is the founder and webmaster of CatholicMom.com and the author of The Grace of YesA Book of Saints for Catholic Moms and The Handbook for Catholic Moms. Lisa writes for several online and print publications, enjoys speaking around the country and is a frequent television and radio guest and host. Visit her at LisaHendey.com.


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