Jump directly to the Content
Jump directly to the Content

Sermon Illustrations

Home > Sermon Illustrations

Pro Basketball Player Finds Opportunity in Tragedy

Newly traded bench player Skal Labissiere arrived in Portland, knowing that his playing time would be minimal at best. Yet, reflecting on his path to the NBA, he was not filled with anxiety, but gratitude.

Labissiere knows that he’ll probably just play a few “garbage time” minutes during a blowout, a far cry from the 20 minutes per game he played for his last team. But here’s his perspective: “Things like this? Playing time? Yeah, it’s frustrating at times, but … after what I’ve been through, believe me, I’m good. God got me to this point, and I still have a ways to go. I’m excited about what’s ahead here.”

Labissiere was alluding to the tragic earthquake in his native Haiti that he experienced as a 13-year-old. The quake caught him unaware on the third floor of his home. He eventually had a wall crash onto his back as he protected his mother from the shifting rubble. It left him unable to walk for weeks.

His family all survived, but they knew his dream of playing NBA basketball would be difficult if he remained in Port-Au-Prince, so his father found a nonprofit that might help a young man with Labissiere’s potential. Eight months later, he flew to the US to live with local resident Gerald Hamilton and his family in Memphis, Tennessee. The love and support from the Hamiltons gave him the foundation he needed to pursue high school basketball, then college hoops at Kentucky, and eventually the NBA.

Labissiere said the earthquake was an awful event, but he added, “But for me, God used that experience to open doors.”

Potential Preaching Angles: Because of God’s great love and omnipotence, God can create opportunity out of tragedy. Even situations that look and feel hopeless are still within God’s grasp of blessing.

Jason Quick, “‘Inches from death’ to the NBA: Skal Labissiere appreciates opportunity with Trail Blazers,” The Athletic (3-4-19)

Related Sermon Illustrations

Commemorative Ornament Depicts 2020 as Dumpster Fire

As 2020 draws to a close, much of humanity appears to agree that the ongoing coronavirus pandemic has turned the year into chaos. One company is now selling ornaments which embody ...

[Read More]

Even in Trauma, Look for the Stars

Dr. Jamie Aten, a cancer survivor and a Christian who researches how people respond to trauma, wrote in The Washington Post in which he urged trauma survivors to "make meaning of your ...

[Read More]