Basketball and the Gospel Sample


The Dribble

Matthew 10:39, Mark 12:30-31, John 12:25

What are some things you can accomplish when you dribble the ball? (advancing the ball, driving to the hoop, getting open for a shot, open up a passing lane, get out of a trap, kill the clock at the end of a game) When James Naismith invented basketball, he made a rule that players were not allowed to run with the ball. They passed the ball to their teammates until a player was open to shoot. Naismith recalled how the dribble was first used in the game. He wrote, “The dribble was originally a defensive measure. When a player had possession of the ball and was so closely guarded that he could not pass it to one of his teammates, the only thing that he could do was to lose possession of the ball voluntarily in such a way that he might possibly recover it. He did this by rolling or bouncing the ball on the floor. This rolling or bouncing was the start of our present-day dribble. It took only a short time for the players to realize that by bouncing the ball on the floor and catching it, they could control it to some extent.”


Whoever tries to hold on to his life will give up true life. 
Whoever gives up his life for me will hold on to true life.
Matthew 13:16


Holding on to the ball didn’t help a player who is closely guarded. The only thing he could do was voluntarily give up the ball in order to get it back again. Think about something you have that you really want to keep. Would it be hard to voluntarily give it up? What if you were asked to give it up so that you could have something better in the future? Would that make it easier to give it up? Why or why not? Right now we have our present life and we hold on to things that make us feel happy and satisfied today. But Jesus wants us to think about our future life. He said this life and these things are only temporary. Jesus offers us a much better future life in heaven with him. He wants us to voluntarily start living for him by loving God most of all and loving others as ourselves. Mark 12:30-31 He said when we give up living our way and choose to live his way, that is the only way we will be happy and satisfied in our forever life. John 12:25


What is one way you can love God most of all? What is one way you can love others as yourself? Why can this be difficult to do? Why is it worth it?




Heavenly Father, Jesus said we will have to give up some things in order to follow him. It may feel difficult to do at times. Help us remember that living for him is totally worth it. Amen.

Why Use Team Sports Devotions?


Engage players with a relatable story or question.
Encourage them to ponder the Bible verse and what it would look like on the court/field or in their daily life.
Challenge players to take action demonstrating their faith in real ways.
Use the prayer suggestion, your own prayer, or ask for a volunteer to pray to close the devotion.



Dear Team Sports Devotions,

I coach middle school basketball and cannot begin to thank you enough for these devotions. They are very well done. You have the right mix of current basketball players and history that draws the boys into the discussion from the beginning, and then you make it very relatable to the scriptures. READ MORE

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