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June 18th, 2010
05:28 PM ET

God told me to do it

I recently wrote an article (“When did God become a sports fan?”) that asked if athletes were trivializing faith by thanking God for their on-field success.

Then I watched the deciding game of the NBA Finals last night and I thought, hmm, maybe there is such a thing as divine intervention.

That thought crossed my mind after reading comments from the unlikely hero of the NBA Finals. For those who don’t follow the NBA, the Los Angeles Lakers defeated the Boston Celtics last night to win the championship.

The hero of game turned out to be the Lakers most unreliable player, Ron Artest. Artest is a bruising player best known for the time he charged into the stands during a game in 2004 and pummeled fans who had jeered him.

But in a post-game interview last night, a glowing Artest was in a more, well, theological mood.

Artest became the hero of the game when, as the contest hung in balance, he swished in a three-point basket that sealed the Lakers’ win.

When reporters later asked him why he took such a low-percentage shot in a critical moment, Artest refused to take credit, according to a column by Arash Markazi of ESPNLosAngeles.com.  

Artest said he wasn’t sure he should shoot, but God told him to let it fly, Markazi said.

"A voice came down and told me to shoot the ball," Artest said. “ Shoot the ball,' He said. God told me to shoot the ball and I shot the ball."

Maybe God isn’t a sports fan, but at least for Artest, he was a Lakers’ fan for one night.

- CNN Writer

Filed under: Belief • Christianity • Faith • Sports

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soundoff (15 Responses)
  1. John D

    In Artest's defense, he didn't charge into the stands because he was getting "jeered"; he charged into the stands because somebody threw a beer at him.

    Of course, he attacked the wrong fan, but still.

    June 22, 2010 at 10:21 am |
  2. jimbo, st. louis mo

    You should watch bull riding. The american cowboys get on bended knee if the have a good ride or not. I'm a fan of the Brazilians though. The don't do that stuff.

    June 21, 2010 at 6:00 pm |
  3. McCluck

    Its not nice of god to help you shoot a stupid basketball when there are plenty of more important things to do. I cant put my finger on it but for some reason i think your full of it

    June 21, 2010 at 9:10 am |
  4. Packysama

    It wasn't God's voice, it was mine. I thought he'd miss and the Celtics would end up winning. Cripes, now I have to live with it.

    June 20, 2010 at 4:54 pm |
  5. incredulous in boston

    I am so tired of religious folks who don't understand the epistemological... shortfalls of religious belief saying that God talks to them. If we are supposed to believe that God told Artest to shoot the ball, can we blame God for the current conflict in Iraq? Remember: God told Bush that the war wouldn't cost any American lives... beware false prophets. and all people claiming supernatural knowledge are false prophets.

    June 20, 2010 at 4:48 pm |
  6. Reality

    And we support the salaries of these jocks by going to and/or watching their simple ball games that are basically controlled by guys over 6'7"?? How stupid of us!!!

    June 20, 2010 at 11:12 am |
  7. Gil T

    I was confronted (by the Spirit, I say) some years ago on this matter. My religious, theological and spiritual sensitivities were ruffled when I saw the end zone prayer and heavenward gestures. My inner confrontation was against my smugness to think God was certainly interested in giving his input and receiving acknowledgement and praise to and from accountants, doctors, preachers and other hard workers such as ditch diggers, _ but athletes? What observers and fans may call "just a game" is a professional job by those athletes and where, no different then anyone else, athletes earn their livelihood. Their ability to express their faith convictions may be as good or as poor as any other disciple growing in faith, knowledge and grace. God speaks to athletes, too.

    June 19, 2010 at 3:20 pm |
  8. HeIsGod

    @ Zaza – How do you know the voice of God to claim that Artest hear voices? How do you know the mind of Artest? No, you don't know, right?

    June 19, 2010 at 1:53 pm |
    • incredulous in boston

      So by your logic, because we can't "know" Artest's mind, we should believe that God talked to him?
      You cannot be serious. Please take a logic course.

      June 20, 2010 at 4:50 pm |
  9. zaza

    Please, I'm sure Artest hears voices often and not always telling him to shoot the ball. When he does a good thing he should take responsibility for his actions and when he does a bad thing he should take responsibility for his actions. What a crock!

    June 19, 2010 at 10:14 am |
  10. Kevin

    People still believe in religion. Humorous.

    Quote a functionally illiterate basketball player, he's got your answers.

    June 19, 2010 at 1:31 am |
    • HeIsGod

      Religion has nothing to do with believing in God. It is through a relationship in Christ that we believe, by faith.

      June 19, 2010 at 1:38 am |
    • BluJ

      @Kevin: It's beyond humorous, it's the only known contagious mental illness.

      June 19, 2010 at 8:35 pm |
  11. HeIsGod

    Real men & women loves Jesus Christ!

    June 18, 2010 at 10:41 pm |
    • McCluck

      im not real then? Darn

      June 21, 2010 at 9:05 am |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.