Engaging views and analysis from outside contributors on the issues affecting society and faith today.

CP VOICES do not necessarily reflect the views of The Christian Post. Opinions expressed are solely those of the author(s).

 Voices |

San Diego State Aztecs players talk keeping faith, accountability

Matt Bradley #20 of the San Diego State Aztecs celebrates with Darrion Trammell #12 during the second half against the Florida Atlantic Owls during the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament Final Four semifinal game at NRG Stadium on April 01, 2023 in Houston, Texas. | Getty Images/Gregory Shamus

As the 2023 NCAA Tournament came to a close, basketball fans everywhere were glued to their screens. They watched as the best teams in the country battled it out on the court, including San Diego State University, a powerhouse in the Mountain West Conference. Their journey to the tournament finals was nothing short of remarkable, marked by their historic Elite Eight win over #1 Alabama. Although they ultimately fell short of their goal of winning the national championship, their journey to the tournament finals was remarkable.

As a San Diego resident, I was thrilled to see these players compete at the highest collegiate level. I was even more excited to interview two of their star players, Matt Bradley and Nathan Mensah, who are also members of the Rock Church community. During our conversation, I was struck by the genuine role their faith played in both their careers and personal lives.

Nathan Mensah grew up in Ghana in a Christian household, but he lost both of his parents after coming to the United States. Over time, he began to backslide in his faith as basketball filled the empty void his parents left behind. During his sophomore year, however, he was faced with a serious blood clot issue that forced him to reevaluate his priorities. It was during this difficult time that he turned back to God and humbly prayed for strength and healing. He promised to serve God faithfully if he was able to recover. Nate fully regained his health, and ever since, he has been committed to living his life for Jesus.

Matt Bradley, who grew up in San Bernardino, California, described how his love for basketball helped him stay out of trouble growing up. After playing at U.C. Berkley for three years in pursuit of the NBA, COVID-19 seemed to shatter his professional dreams. He realized that the sport that had been everything to him could be taken away in an instant, but he would soon come to learn that there is one thing that could never be taken from him — his faith. Gradually, Matt began going to church and surrounding himself with the Christian community. He eventually chose to dedicate his life wholeheartedly to following Jesus. 

As they described their journey to the NCAA finals, both players stressed the importance of accountability. They believed that having a strong support system was crucial to their success both on and off the court, and they were grateful for the brotherhood they had built with their teammates. In addition to holding each other accountable in basketball, they also pushed each other to grow in their faith and stay connected with God. Though they once prioritized basketball above everything, God is now on the throne of their lives. 

As a pastor, it is inspiring to see young people like Matt Bradley and Nathan Mensah use their talents and influence to make a positive impact in the world. They have a global platform, and they are leveraging this platform to share the testimony of Jesus’ work in their lives. They recognize that their success on the court is a gift from God, and they are committed to using their platform to spread the hope of the Gospel. This is a powerful reminder that we don't have to separate our work from our faith! 

Over 40 years ago, God gave me a similar opportunity. After going from a small Division III school to the NFL, I found myself with a debilitating cocaine addiction. One day, Jesus rescued me from this addiction, and I dedicated my life fully to Him. When I found myself with a global platform to talk about football, I knew I had to tell the world what Jesus had done for me. I learned that talent is never for us — it is for God’s glory!

Even if you are not a sports fan, Nathan and Matt’s testimonies remind us that God can use our talents and passions to make a difference in the world. Whether we're playing basketball, working in an office, raising a family, or serving our community, we can invite the Holy Spirit into our work as an act of worship. Wherever we go, we have the opportunity to be a positive influence on those around us and to share the love of Christ with others.

Let's strive to use our talents and influence to point people toward Jesus, and let’s never be afraid to share our faith with those around us. You have unique gifts and talents that God has given you, and you can use these gifts to make a difference in the world! To learn more about your unique gifts, you can take a free spiritual gifts assessment at

To watch my full interview with Nathan Mensah and Matt Bradley, check out the Rock Church youtube channel

Miles McPherson is the Senior Pastor of the Rock Church in San Diego. He is also a motivational speaker and author. McPherson's latest book “The Third Option” speaks out about the pervasive racial divisions in today’s culture and argues that we must learn to see people not by the color of their skin, but as God sees them—humans created in the image of God.


Was this article helpful?

Want more articles like this?

Help keep The Christian Post free for everyone by making a one-time donation today.

We’re sorry to hear that.

Hope you’ll give us another try and check out some other articles. Return to homepage.

Free Religious Freedom Updates

Join thousands of others to get the FREEDOM POST newsletter for free, sent twice a week from The Christian Post.

Most Popular

Free Religious Freedom Updates

A religious liberty newsletter that is a must-read for people of faith.

More In Opinion