Saturday, February 22, 2014

Sports Guy, Mark Cuban, and the Different-Thinking God:
a self-indulgent post on economics, the Dallas Mavericks, and steps toward abundant life

Last July, I stumbled almost by accident onto what I've experienced as a wonderfully life-giving strategy for how to be Church in the world:

All kinds of theological and Gospel reasons to try this anti-methodology. And today "The Sports Guy" explains - via the example of Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban - the intuition of an anti-methodology in economic terms, too:
Cuban’s zigzag theory: If a growing cluster of NBA teams are trying to execute the same strategy (in this case, keeping their cap unclogged, avoiding that no-man’s-land range of 39-45 wins, stockpiling picks and maybe even semi-sabotaging their current team for ping-pong balls), then common sense says it’s better to zag the other way because you’ll find inefficiencies just by thinking differently (emphasis mine). 
That's right: sometimes the only reason you need for an uncommon approach is that it's opposite the most common practice. You don't even have to understand or have identified the unseen efficiencies you will discover and/or which will move you farther toward your goal. Writes Simmons:
In this case, there might be hidden value in targeting contracts for quality starters ranging from $7.5 million to $10 million — Jeff Green, Thaddeus Young, Jeff Teague, Arron Afflalo, Taj Gibson, Whatever Gordon Hayward Gets Paid Next Season, etc. — because there’s no real market for these guys. So if you’re getting them for 60 cents on the dollar, that’s great: You just got a quality starter for 60 cents on the dollar. I gotta say, I like this line of thinking.
Of course, the Church has greater goals than profitability. Or rather, profitability is not purely (or even primarily) financial for the Church. Defining those goals, specifically, in the context of this anti-paradigm is no doubt useful for the Church, but it's work for another day - and maybe another writer. My purpose in sharing The Sports Guy's observation is mostly to give you courage in a future particular moment to go, live the Gospel you've seen and heard, even - and maybe especially - when the rest of the world - and even the Church - runs counter. 

In the moment of your courage, you'll feel silly and foolish (that's okay), and you may want to quit. Don't quit. Remember, you may be opening the unseen possibility with which God will bless and surprise us all.

"Love your enemies," anyone?

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