Earlier this morning, my colleague Jerry Wilson shared the details of how the Milwaukee Bucks and the Phoenix Suns’ Game Six of the NBA Championship series played out inside the Eastern Conference champs’ home court on Tuesday night. The former managed to take the series almost to the limit, and it was neck and neck the entire time the players were on the hardwood last night. (I encourage you to read Jerry’s piece, “Giannis Antetokounmpo’s Monster Game Gives Milwaukee Bucks the 2021 NBA Championship,” for the game highlights/statistics.)
I’ll add that, unfortunately, it’s not enough to be a good team to come back from three losses in a row (which my hometown Suns suffered before Tuesday’s contest) — you have to be great.
In the end, they were just good. The Suns couldn’t overcome the Bucks and an impressive effort by undeniable MVP, the Kobe Bryant-esque Giannis Antetokounmpo.
So, it was only appropriate when losing Suns head coach Monty Williams, instead of what usually happens after a championship loss — mumbling into a reporter’s microphone in some shadowy hallway — walked right up to a celebrating Antetokounmpo afterwards. And what he said was the epitome of class — and an example that all Americans should seek to emulate.
The sports director for iHeart Radio/Boston, Adam Kaufman, caught the significance of the “rare” moment, via ESPN, writing in a tweet:
This is so awesome from Monty Williams, and so incredibly rare (at least as far as we get to see)
— Adam Kaufman (@AdamMKaufman) July 21, 2021
Adam isn’t wrong. And that this kind of gesture is rare is a shame. There’s a dearth of good sportsmanship in professional sports — and classy behavior in society in general. We all have to do better as role models, as parents and as Christians. But when someone finds themselves in the bright glare of the media spotlight, what they say and do has an oversized impact on young people, whether we like it or not. And Monty showed his heart, when given the opportunity.
We all should be thankful he had the presence of mind to overcome his and his team’s disappointment — and do the right thing, not the easy thing, when it counted.