Tonight the NCAA Division I championship game occurs. It's the culmination of a great season of college basketball.
There's nothing quite like the Final Four. I had the privilege of playing in the 1969 Final Four. It was madness then. It's even more madness now!
This week-end, I've been reflecting over the last decades of college basketball. Tonight, it will be obvious how the college (and pro) basketball game is dominated by the African/American athlete. They are especially gifted players.
Yet when I played on UNC's 1969 team, there was only one African/American athlete. His name was Charles Scott. He was the first African/American basketball player at UNC and the ACC. He was an All-American. He was an incredible player. Hardly a practice went by when he would "wow" his teammates with this ability. He could play in the NBA today. He was that good.
I reminisce about my college coach, Dean Smith, a great coach. He was an even better human being. When he became the head coach at UNC in 1962, I think he had his sights on integrating the UNC team. He did so when he signed Charles Scott in 1966. It was not an easy decision. But it was the right one. As a follower of Jesus, Coach Smith believed all people are created equal. He knew it wasn't right for the African/American athlete to be excluded from the college game. He wanted this changed.
The integration of the college basketball game has now fully occurred. Largely, it's because of the courage of Charles Scott and Dean Smith decades ago. I greatly admire both. I pray all of us will continue to fight for the equality of all people, never basing our feelings on the color of their skin.
As I watch tonight's game, I don't have a "favorite" team. May the best team win!
But I do have favorite memories of two good men, Charles Scott and Dean Smith. Both of them greatly shaped tonight's game and the face of college basketball.
I will especially enjoy that memory as I watch tonight's game.
If you like to read the insights from the daily Bible reading in Mark, please click here.