The Memphis Grizzlies were seeded eighth in the Western Conference heading into the NBA playoffs, but they surprised nearly everybody when they knocked off number one seed San Antonio in six games, which prompted rookie point guard Greivis Vasquez to give God the credit for keeping the team focused and together.
“I think this is all God,” Vasquez told Baptist Press recently. “We are probably not the most talented team in the NBA, but the best thing about this team is how we handle situations. The guys are so humble and hungry. We’ve got good chemistry. We play together, and that is what God is all about, keeping people together.”
Expressing himself in English also wasn’t so easy. When the 24-year-old came to America from Venezuela as a teenager, his English wasn’t the best, which sadly led to some unkind comments.
“People make fun of you,” Vasquez said in a CBS feature about him in 2010. “People don’t really respect you because they think you don’t understand – you can’t speak the language, but basketball definitely got me through it.”
That, and his faith in Christ.
When a journalist for the Severna Park Voice asked him recently how his Christian faith helps him in life, he said, “It helps me in every aspect of my life. I have a sense of peace because I know God has blessed me so much. I thank Jesus every day, no matter what happens, good or bad. My faith is what got me to where I am today.”
Vasquez attended Montrose Christian School in Rockville, Md., where he became a Christian at the age of 17. He went on to have a standout career at the University of Maryland, being named the 2010 ACC Player of the Year, and was drafted in the first round in 2010 by the Memphis Grizzlies.
Vazquez finds tangible ways to live out his faith. He prays with Christians on opposing teams, he has memorized the eighth chapter of Romans and he attends team Bible studies. He’s also active on Twitter where he routinely thanks God for another day. He said this on Sunday, “I’m on my way to @lifechurchmemph to thank God for everything.”
The Grizzles are currently deadlocked with Oklahoma City at two games apiece in their best of seven game semi-final playoff series. Game 5 will be played tonight.