Wellington Smith

Wellington Smith
Forward

Many players credit their tough situations for why they play basketball so well. By this I mean that sometimes difficult environments chastise young people, wooing them to escape. And for many, basketball becomes the ticket. I, however, was not one of them.

I came from a family where both parents still live together to this day! We all lived in the same house and were very close knit. I was taught Christian morals as I grew up, particularly this pair: follow the Lord and love your family. Yet I was very young and immature when those morals were set into place. I thought you could only follow something if it’s tangible, and God is not. Therefore, I loved my family unconditionally and wholeheartedly, but God became an unconscious, unacknowledged part of my life.

At this point, I really was not living as my parents taught me. I was dishonest with myself and at times found myself in bad situations because of the God-vacuum I was trying to live in.

But in 2008 I TRULY found a relationship with God. It was when I had an opportunity to go with an Athletes in Action basketball team to Taiwan, engage with others who wanted to learn to follow Christ and make Him known, and ultimately play some great basketball at a world-class tournament. While there I immersed myself in anything and everything that had to do with knowing and having a relationship with the Lord. That trip was a huge eye-opener, and a noticeable shift occurred in my life. I came back with a changed heart and a mentality that I still follow today, centered on this simple creed: Audience of One.

It is hard to play for yourself, your team, your family, your school and an ever-watching public. But purposing to play just thinking about God watching me—and to give an offering to Him with how I play—makes things better. 

To play my sport and live my life for an Audience of One is what I like to think about and mediate on at all times. Jesus has become my centerpiece, focal point, peace-giver, and real head coach of my life. I live and play to give Him praise.

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