In the highly competitive world of basketball, two coaches have shown that life is more than just a game; that people are more important than a win. Antoine Mason plays for Auburn University and is their second-leading scorer on the team. In February, his father, Anthony Mason, a former NBA All Star for the New York Nicks, suffered a heart attack and had been hospitalized. Auburn Tigers Coach Bruce Pearl gave Antoine permission to leave the team for the remainder of the season so he could spend time with his father and family. Coach Pearl was willing to allow one of his top scorers to be with family at a crucial time because he understands that family takes precedence over winning a game. Antoine made several trips home and then back to school in February. After multiple surgeries, Mr. Mason’s health was improving so Antoine decided to continue the season. Anthony Mason was 48 when he took a turn for the worse and lost his life on February 28, 2015, the same day that Auburn played Texas A&M.
Billy Kennedy, Texas A&M’s basketball coach, also took notice of the death of Anthony Mason and the absence of player Antoine Mason. Earlier in the day, the Auburn uniforms were already out in the locker room. The Aggie equipment staff took the jerseys, bought black remembrance ribbons, had the ribbons embroidered on the players’ uniforms, and returned the jerseys to the locker room as their way to support the Mason family. Before the start of the game, A&M also held a minute of silence to honor the memory of Anthony Mason.
Coach Pearl commented, “I want to thank the Texas A&M Administration and the basketball program for a really first-class gesture before the game. That really was very, very kind, very, very thoughtful, and it meant a lot to us. And it really kind of makes me proud that Texas A&M is part of the SEC family, because that was what family does. We had the jerseys in the locker room this afternoon and they went in and got everything, they took care of everything.”
Bruce Pearl and Billy Kennedy are two coaches who realize and exhibit that life is more than just a game. It’s loving, caring for, and being family that makes a difference.
Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.