Malcolm Brogdon, nicknamed “Humble Moses” by his family and “President” by his college and professional teammates, won the NBA’s highest honor for rookie players on Monday night. As a second round pick, Brogdon was the lowest drafted player to ever win the award. Thirty-six times an NBA team had the opportunity to draft who would ultimately be that year’s best player and thirty-six times those NBA teams passed.
“I want to say this is a testament to guys that are underestimated … that get looked over regardless of the work they put in, regardless of what they do,” Brodgon said in his acceptance speech. “You can always achieve your dreams if you have faith, you have sacrifice, you sacrifice for what you want. A lot of the time you’re not going to fit in. A lot of the time you’re going to have to skip those parties, you’re going to have to do things that other people aren’t doing to get to where you want to be.”
Certainly, Malcolm Brogdon doesn’t fit the typical mold of the sports superstar. For starters, he nearly attended Harvard due to the emphasis his family places on academics. He graduated the University of Virginia with a degree in History and Master’s Degree in Public Policy from the renowned and competitive Batten School of Public Policy and Leadership. He grew up going on missions trips for vacations. He yawns before games. Fame and fortune seem to motivate him less than his post-basketball career aspirations – to feed the hungry in third world nations.
But, this “misfit” is looked over no more. Malcolm Brogdon is the NBA’s Rookie of the Year.
Admittedly, my personal allegiance to Brogdon’s and my shared Alma Mater and the privilege of watching him continually amaze his fans in college does lend bias to what I’ll say next. Recognizing all that … isn’t this sweet? Isn’t there something deep down within all of us that yearns to be recognized for who we are and all we do? Don’t we at least some of the time feel like we’re “looked over regardless of the work (we) put in, regardless of what (we) do”? A moment like this is a lightning rod for us. It inspires us. It tells us that we too can overcome our current struggles, whatever they may be, and we can be valued as the unique individuals we are.
But, of course, most of us are not Malcolm Brogdon. Personally, I’d aspire to achieve just one of his accomplishments I’ve listed in this short blog. (Okay, other than yawning before games) We are not great basketball players or modern day Renaissance Men and Women, and we most certainly will never receive an honor as distinct on a stage as large as Brogdon’s was Monday night.
Still, we persist. We yearn.
Fortunately, there is an answer to that yearning. There is a sweetness we can taste that is greater than all the awards, rewards, and treasures this world has to offer. And, fortunately, Malcolm Brogdon was self-aware enough to direct some of the credit he was receiving towards its rightful place –
“I also want to say thank you to God. None of this would be possible without God leading your way and righting your path for you, so one more round of applause for that as well.”
Put another way –
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not rely on your own insight. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.” (Proverbs 3:5-6)
While we may never be recognized by or in this world, each and every one of us is a unique individual created and treasured by God. We are so valuable to him that He knew us before we were born (Jeremiah 1:5), has numbered even the hairs on our heads (Matthew 10:30), and gave His only begotten Son so that we would not die, but could be underappreciated, overlooked, outcast, and misfit no more. God gave His Son, so He could recognize and cherish us for all that we do and all that we are for all of eternity.
Next time we’re suffering, or feeling like no one cares about us, let’s remember that truth. Let’s not lean on our own understanding and seek the recognition of this world, but let’s always remember that all glory and honor are truly His!