Monday, June 25, 2007

Jesus Plays Sports: William Wesley + 100 Posts of Moderately Cerebral Bias

This is my 100th post of Moderately Cerebral Bias on Blogger, so I figured I'd give you a chance to tell me what you liked and didn't like about the first 100. Shoot your mouth off in the comment section or send me an e-mail; what types of posts were your favorites?

I was quite inspired by the William Wesley story on TrueHoop. William Wesley is...oh, go read the link first, too hard to explain here.

Anyway, if you don't recall, Jesus Plays Sports is a series where I apply some Christian worldview/thought on an issue of sports. William Wesley intrigued me because of two abilities that I found noteworthy. He has become wealthy and well-regarded because he serves others and doesn't ask for anything for himself. "Worldwise Wes" also excels at finding talented people at their most humble points and then growing with them as they grow. Now, before you read the rest of this; William Wesley is not a role model per se. However, I'm going to have a "White Hat" approach in writing this blog.

William Wesley's servant attitude has turned him into a leader for very wealthy, athletic basketball players. Read the article in GQ; note how LBJ, an occasionally cocky young man, speaks of WW with so much respect. I find this intriguing because I see Jesus' recommendation that "Whoever wants to become great among you must become the least" and think "How is that possible?" How can one become a leader by being a servant? Well, there's an intriguing story that Jesus tells about a steward who uses his position of power to do favors for lots of his friends when he is about to be fired. The idea of the story is that by your generosity, you can create a network of friends and people who will then take care of you when you have needs; Jesus then relates that spiritually.

That's exactly what WW has done; by serving athletes and entertainers, he has now gained a network of favors that he can selectively tap. Note, for example, how WW is able to call Jay-Z and Beyonce on the spot to talk to Leandro. You can bet that happened only because WW had served Jay-Z in the past and thus earned the right to call on Jay-Z for an occasional favor. When you serve first and then ask later, you have earned the right to be heard. Of course, the challenge such a person has is not to smack around people who take and take and never give back, ha.

I could see this working for sports blogs, too. If you constantly supply more popular blogs with story material that they desperately need to keep up with their 4+ posts per day cycle, guess what? When you want a link for your blog, they are going to give you one, just to keep your flow of stories going. If you comment on other sites and help make someone else's blog better, then they will be more open to your requests as well. Another example of this perspective is Deadspin; I really think Will Leitch's allowing comments on his posts and letting some of his readers get some of the credit on the site was a gutsy gamble. By allowing others to be funny on his material, even possibly at his expense, the blog became a lot better. Now true, not just ANYONE could comment, but it still was a risk.

The other part of William Wesley's story that I find inspiring is his ability to grow with his clients. It's not hard to impress a 15-year-old Lebron James, but it is difficult to impress the multimillionaire 22-year old Lebron James. In addition, William Wesley has managed to keep Allen Iverson in line, and you know that can't be by cracking the whip on him. After that initial contact with the athlete when they were teens, William Wesley has been able to continue solving clients' problems at a very high level even as his clients grow in wealth and ability.

A criticism that many 20-somethings level (fairly, I'm afraid) at churches is that the church is not growing with the person. Games that were "super-cool!" when you are 15 aren't so cool when you're 25. Unless a religious worldview can grow and meet needs at all stages of life, including those of single people in their 20's and 30's, what good is it? That is the real test, and WW has managed to master the test and make it look easy. My hat's off to him, and I hope I can be as hard-working and talented in achieving my goals as WorldWide Wes.


  1. excellent post. I am going through some troubling times right now and your post actually inspired me to look at things a little differently.

    God bless.

  2. Adrian, I enjoy blogging when it's just for fun, but nothing excites me more than actually making a positive life impact on someone through a post. Thanks for sharing.