Guest / Limited Access /

July was, without question, the worst month in recent memory for professional sports. Each one of America's big three got its own black eye.

  • Barry Bonds pursued baseball's most hallowed record, the career home run mark, amid suspicions of steroid abuse—and a pesky perjury investigation.
  • Michael Vick, the NFL's second-highest-paid player, was arraigned in federal court on charges of illegal dog fighting.
  • And, most damaging, Tim Donaghy, an NBA referee, was accused by the FBI of betting on games in which he'd participated—the cardinal sin in all sports.

Overshadowed by these negative headlines was a noble decision made by Utah Jazz guard Derek Fisher: He asked to leave his team.

Fisher wasn't seeking to damage the Jazz, which had advanced to the Western Conference finals a month before. Indeed, his decision had nothing to do with basketball. It had to do with priorities.

Fisher, a quiet, steady Christian witness in a league of bling and groupies, left Salt Lake City in order to focus on his daughter's health. Only 11 months old, Tatum was diagnosed in May with retinoblastoma. The rare cancer threatens not just her left eye, but her life. Fisher gave up millions of dollars, and possibly his career, in order to move to a city with the right combination of medical specialists.

Such an admirable, selfless move is rare in the world of pro sports. Athletes are ridiculously overpaid—Boston Celtics star Kevin Garnett will make nearly three times as much as the entire U.S. Senate next year—and lauded with a kind of hero worship no person can live up to. Some don't even try. As hall of fame forward Charles Barkley reportedly said, "I am not a role model. I am paid to wreak havoc on the basketball court. … Just because ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

From Issue:
Read These NextSee Our Latest
RecommendedHow I Almost Lost the Bible
How I Almost Lost the Bible
Had it not been for the first editor of CT, I likely would have gone the way of liberal scholar Bart Ehrman.
TrendingThe 10 Most Influential Churches of the Last Century
The 10 Most Influential Churches of the Last Century
There is much to learn from some key trends in the last 100 years of church history.
Editor's PickWhy Black Churches Are Keeping Millennials
Why Black Churches Are Keeping Millennials
The reasons are rooted in history.
Comments
Christianity Today
All That's Good in Sports
hide thisSeptember September

In the Magazine

September 2007

To continue reading, subscribe now for full print and digital access.