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March 2009 Chad Bonham Luke Ridnour Teamwork Eyes on the Prize Milwaukee Bucks

FCA Resource Excerpt: "Teamwork"
The following is an excerpt from FCA’s recently published book, "Teamwork," part three of a four-book series on FCA's four Core Values: Integrity, Serving, Teamwork and Excellence.

Luke Ridnour credits his father for providing the earliest lessons about teamwork. Rob Ridnour coached high school basketball (including his son's team) before taking over as the head coach of the International Basketball League's Bellingham Slam. It was the elder Ridnour who instilled in his son some of those fundamental concepts about teamwork, such as sharing the ball and looking out for one another.

Luke Ridnour

"The biggest thing my dad taught me about teamwork was that everyone should stick together through thick and thin," Ridnour says. "These are the guys you're going to be with, and no matter how bad it might look at times, that's your crew that you've got to pull together with. The guys who are on the court are the ones who have to get the job done. You can't look to other people. You've all got to do it together."

While pursuing his NBA dream, Ridnour says that maintaining a relationship with Christ was rarely a priority. He grew up in church, but his focus on athletics deterred him from taking a serious look at the faith his parents embraced. Still, he knew something was missing in his life.

"As much success as I'd had, I wasn't very happy," Ridnour says. "I still didn't have very much peace about who I was. But once I hit college, God really spoke to my heart. He started drawing me closer and closer to Him. I started to find peace, and I got excited about the fact that I wasn't just a basketball player, but I was friends with Jesus. That's what really changed my life."

At the University of Oregon, Ridnour found strength and accountability in a group of freshmen teammates who were all experiencing similar spiritual growth patterns. They met together for Bible studies with team chaplain Keith Jenkins — a pastor from Eugene, Ore. — and faithfully attended a local church.

Ridnour says that fellowship opened his eyes "to the power of God and how real He is." Likewise, a growing comprehension of the Bible enhanced his understanding and appreciation for the concept of teamwork.

"It's very much biblical with principles such as putting others before you," Ridnour says. "I think that's what teamwork is. A good teammate puts others before him. No one person thinks they're bigger than they really are. The Bible just reinforced the belief that I can't put myself above anybody else."

"...when you put your team’s success ahead of your success, good things happen."

Ridnour is especially inspired by the words of the apostle Paul found in Romans 12:3: "For by the grace given to me, I tell everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he should think. Instead, think sensibly, as God has distributed a measure of faith to each one."

"I think that's huge for teamwork," Ridnour says. "A lot of times, you can be worried about yourself and your success. But when you put your team's success ahead of your success, good things happen."

Ridnour earned Pac-10 Player of the Year honors as a junior in 2002-03 and then made an early departure for the NBA, where he was the 14th overall selection of the Seattle SuperSonics. After five seasons with the Sonics (a franchise that has since moved to Oklahoma City), he was traded to Milwaukee in a three-team, six-player deal. His experiences at the highest level of competition continue to bring revelation about the biblical principles of teamwork.

-- "Integrity," "Serving," "Teamwork" and "Excellence" are all available at

Photos courtesy of Gary Dineen/NBA Photos, Milwaukee Bucks.

Copyright 2007 Sharing the Victory Magazine

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