The Wall Street Journal published an interesting feature over the weekend on a veteran National Basketball Association referee who went to seminary and became a Catholic deacon.
Overall, I enjoyed the piece. I’d encourage you to read it.
But it’s one of those features where I finished reading it and wasn’t totally satisfied. I still had unanswered questions. And yes, they related to the religious nitty-gritty. I’ll explain more in a moment.
First, though, let’s set the scene with the lede:
Near the end of his long career as an NBA referee, Steve Javie took a summer vacation with his wife. They decided to burn his unholy amount of frequent-flier miles and Marriott points on a trip to Saint Thomas. He was thinking about retirement, and this seemed like an ideal place to settle down. Javie could play golf, hit the beach and live in a tropical paradise.
It did not quite work out that way. Instead he would spend the next seven years committing himself to Catholicism.
"The calling comes and you go, 'Uh oh, I gotta listen,' " he said.
Javie officiated his last NBA game in 2011. He soon began studying at his local seminary. He was recently ordained as a deacon by the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. And this unexpected turn of events is how he found himself in church one Sunday morning wearing elaborate vestments to deliver a homily. He began with a confession.
"I'm a sports guy," he said.
Keep reading, and the Journal offers more background on Javie’s referee career as well as his high-profile ongoing gig as ESPN’s rules analyst.
Then the story returns to some crucial religion details: