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Lifelong Church of Christ member prepares to play in NBA Finals

OKLAHOMA CITY — Miami Heat rookie guard Norris Cole has an opportunity afforded only a small percentage of basketball players – the chance to play in the NBA Finals.
The lifelong Church of Christ member has played in a reserve role this season for the Heat, who are in Oklahoma City this week to take on the Thunder in the Finals, which start Tuesday. After a second game in Oklahoma City on Thursday, the best-of-7 series will shift to Miami starting on Sunday.
Cole, who grew up in the Webster Street Church of Christ in Dayton, Ohio, and now attends the Miami Gardens Church of Christ in south Florida, said he’s tried to focus on spiritual matters as best he can as he deals with the often-hectic NBA schedule.
“It’s pretty tough, but any time we don’t have practice on a Sunday morning, or we don’t have a game or we’re not the road, I’m there (at Miami Gardens),” Cole told The Christian Chronicle on Monday.

When he misses services, Cole said, he gets a DVD of the sermon and watches it later.

Becky Poe remembers Cole, son of Norris and Diane Cole, participating in the annual Bible Bowls hosted by the Northridge Church of Christ, a Dayton congregation where her husband served as the minister.

“I recall his mother telling me at the Bible Bowl that she was very proud of him for his basketball, but she always taught him to ‘seek first the kingdom of God,'” Becky Poe said in an e-mail to the Chronicle.

The younger Norris Cole helped Dayton Dunbar High School win a pair of Ohio state championships before playing for four seasons at Cleveland State University, where in 2009 he helped the Vikings reach the NCAA tournament for the first time since 1986. The Chicago Bulls drafted him last summer and traded him to the Minnesota Timberwolves, who traded him to the Heat.

He’s appeared in 15 of the Heat’s 18 playoff games through the first three rounds of the playoffs, averaging 1.4 points per game.

During the regular season, he played in 65 of Miami’s 66 games – tied for tops on the team – started twice and averaged 6.8 points per game.

Look for an expanded profile in an upcoming print edition of the Chronicle.

  • Feedback
    Amen Praise the Lord brother Cole…
    Daniel Elamparo Jr.
    Cabalan Olongapo Church of Christ Philippines
    Olongapo, none
    June, 25 2013

    Enjoyed this article… Nice to know that a fellow Church of Christ, member is playing for the Heat. We here at Redland Christian Academy (A Church of Christ affiliated private school) will be watching Norris closely as he performs for the Heat.
    Ken Hane
    Homestead Church of Christ
    Homestead, Florida
    December, 5 2012

    Proud to be your brother in Christ! How I wish to have a fellowship with you. I admire your Faithfulness. Godbless.
    Mark Evenezer Calaguio
    Calasiao Church Of Christ
    Dagupan City, Pangasinan
    September, 28 2012

    I never met Norris personally, but I’ve seen him on various DVDs and have come to appreciate his steadfastness and determination.
    Gerry Wellington
    None at this time.
    Loganville, GA
    June, 14 2012

    Norris has been a tremendous blessing to the Miami Gardens congregation. It is encouraging to see a young man stay so focused on his faith!
    Bro. Gale Nelson, Minister
    Miami Gardens church of Christ
    Miami, FL
    June, 13 2012

    It is refreshing to know that Bro. Norris was taught to seek the Kingdom of God first. So many of us, while chasing the dream, tend to put the Kingdom of God on the back burner, the one hardly ever ignited. Thanks for your faithfulness in Christ and may God bless you to be a blessing for your team.
    Tia Dosewell
    Oak Wood Church of Christ Houston, Texas
    Webster, Texas
    United States
    June, 13 2012

    Having worked with the young adults and as youth director at the Liberty City COC in Savannah Ga I say to u Young Brother keep up the faith and walk ing the light, be as example of rightousness and thanks for being committed to Christ, many blessing to u and this is the real championship, a child of God. GO HEAT and contact me i would to have u come to SC and speak with the young people there if God wills and u can swing it.
    Bro. Tyrone Mc Cloud
    Azelea Drive COC
    Charleston, SC
    June, 12 2012

    Brother Cole has been a real blessing to the congregation. Norris,II has never failed to take his role in serving the Lord seriously. Devotional talks, song leading, and especially encouraging the youth in the congregation has been done by Norris over the years.
    Richard Melson
    Gospel Preacher
    Richard Melson
    Webster Street
    Dayton, Ohio
    June, 12 2012

    I’ve known Norris all his life and his parents have been family to me my entire life. It is very exciting to see a faithful Christian friend and brother reach his goals and dreams in this fashion!
    Rachel (Melson) Blanks
    Webster St Church of Christ/Springhill Rd Church of Christ
    Tallahassee, FL
    June, 12 2012

Filed under: People Staff Reports

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