The Blog of Jake Kelfer
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Unless you are from Iowa or follow college basketball, you probably never heard of Jordan Bohannon. But a few weeks ago, Jordan Bohannon became a viral sensation after making one, single decision on the court.
With about 2 minutes left in a close game against Northwestern, Bohannon stepped to the free throw line in what would become an impact moment in his life and in Iowa basketball history. This wasn’t just any free throw, but rather it was a chance to become the new record holder for Iowa basketball for most consecutive free throws made. The current record was held by Iowa legend, Chris Street who was tragically killed in a car accident. Unfortunately due to the accident, Chris never had a chance to continue his streak, so in this moment, Bohannon decided to miss the free throw and remain tied with Chris for the record.
After the game, Street’s parents met with Bohannon and embraced him for what he did. Patty, Chris’s mother, was moved to tears and so appreciative of the tribute to her son.
When people say that athletes should just focus on playing sports and nothing else, I think that’s ridiculous. Sports are so much more than just a game. They are a pathway to achieving something greater. To being apart of something bigger than one’s self.
Sports give people a platform to become a better person. They’ve saved millions of lives and they’ve given hope to people who were otherwise hopeless. They’ve given people a family when they would’ve been on the streets. They’ve given people a voice who otherwise wouldn’t have had the chance to talk. Sports are more than a game; they are a vessel for impact and change.
Bohannon did the ultimate act of kindness, sacrificing a chance to be the outright record holder for someone who he shared an Iowa bond with. He gave up his chance for individual success and recognition to be apart of a greater mission and in return, he ended up with more awareness than he could’ve imagined with stories all over the internet.
I respect what Bohannon did a few weeks ago and as we head into the opening week of March Madness and the NCAA tournament, I hope more athletes will continue to use their influence and their platforms for a greater purpose.
Think of all the ways you can make a difference in this world. Just because you might have retired or you don’t currently play in the NBA, you are still part of a team. You are part of a friend group, company, family, religious community, philanthropic event and many other teams, and it’s up to you to decide what you are willing to do to help make the team better.
Bohannon used his platform to show respect and grace. He decided that there was more to life than making another free throw.
How will you use your platform to ignite your fellow teammates and communities?