Adapting to Culture vs. Changing Culture

Adapting to Culture vs Changing Culture. 

(Photo by Selma Komisky)

By Vince Freeman

One of my favorite athletes of all time is Steph Curry. I love the game of basketball and it’s incredible to watch someone built like him dominate the game like no one before. Usually, NBA superstars are at least 6’ 6’’ tall and weighing 220 pounds or more. Steph is barely 6’2 and hovers around 185 pounds. If you judge him just on his size, you’d never guess what he’s been able to accomplish. He is widely considered the greatest shooter in the history of basketball, a 3-time NBA Champion, a 7-time All Star, a 2-time Most Valuable Player, an outspoken Christian, and a devoted family man. But the thing I like most about Steph is that he changes the culture of wherever he goes. While most people might crumble under the weight of his high-profile job and the constant spotlight, Steph has found a way to change the culture instead of merely adapting to it. 

On the court, Steph has revolutionized the game of basketball by his incredible 3-point accuracy and range. Teams have nightmares about how to defend him as he can wreak havoc from anywhere at any moment. Because of his incredible skill set, Steph ushered in a new shooting era in the NBA that had never been seen before. Now, the 3-point shot is the most valuable part of many team’s offense. He also changed the way that basketball is filmed and broadcast on TV. Because of his ability to shoot the ball from practically anywhere on the court, camera operators changed their normal style of filming to make sure they don’t miss the action as soon as the ball gets across half court. Today, you can go to any gym or playground and see kids hoisting up 30-foot jump shots, all in an attempt to be like Steph. He showed anyone that feels undersized and overlooked that you can be a champion. 

Off the court, his legacy continues. As a husband and father of 3, he doesn’t have the typical NBA player’s home life. He’s paving a way for people to see that you can be the best at what you do in your field and honor God and your family at the same time. There’s not a lot of athletes that I would encourage people to pursue their lifestyle yet Steph shows how a believer can create a massive impact in the world and not be consumed by it. There’s even a meme when anyone posts something that Steph has done, someone will undoubtedly comment, “Look at Curry. So inspirational.” It’s funny, but only because it’s true. Whether it’s starting his own faith-based media company Unanimous or providing over 16 million meals through his family’s Eat. Learn. Play. foundation, Curry is committed to changing culture wherever he goes. 

As believers, this is how we are called to live. I like to think of the thermometer vs thermostat example: A thermometer’s job is to tell you the temperature of the environment, to let you know if something is hot or cold. A thermostat has the ability to change the temperature of the environment and impact everyone in that space. The scripture that comes to mind is Colossians 3:23, “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men.” When our focus is on pleasing God, we no longer have to worry about just adapting or fitting into culture. It’s our job to stand out and others will see our lives as an example of what’s possible because of our faith in Jesus.

How are you going to change the culture around you today?