A Ring Every NBA Player Can Wear: The Path to Transforming Trust

Building Blocks Trust

By Jim Denison Published on June 26, 2020

Every player in the National Basketball Association wants a ring. But while only a few will win a championship ring this year (assuming the truncated season goes forward as planned), each of them is being asked to wear a different kind of ring.

The Oura ring can perceive slight deviations in temperature, heart rate and respiratory rate that signal an immune response. The “illness probability score” it calculates can signal that the wearer might be infected with coronavirus even before the wearer shows symptoms.

The ring already worked in this way for a man in Finland. A similar device warned PGA golfer Nick Watney last week, causing him to withdraw from a tournament on Friday after he tested positive for the virus.

Here’s the catch — no one knows how many players will wear the Oura ring. NBA officials say there are strict regulations in place to protect players’ privacy, but some are already worried about ways the data could be used or misused. One said the ring looked like “a tracking device.” If more players wear the ring, the technology would presumably protect more of them. But trust is a scarce commodity these days.

But trust is a scarce commodity these days.

We are divided on masks and social distancing to stop the spread of coronavirus. We are divided over partisan politics as the fall elections approach. The issue of racial injustice is especially fraught, from autonomous zones to the toppling of statues to congressional debates over policing. Let’s focus on this issue today, highlighting a way forward that Christians can model for our fractured culture.

A New Commandment I Give You

Racism is sin. The good news is, sinners can defeat racism together.

Every human being is descended from the same parents (Genesis 3:20) and loved by their Creator (Genesis 1:27; John 3:16). God “shows no partiality” (Acts 10:34) and calls us to do the same.

Jesus was adamant — “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another” (John 13:34). But his “new commandment” is less clear to us in English, since we have no easy way to distinguish between “you” in the singular or the plural. The word can refer to one person or to a crowd.

In the Greek text Jesus’ meaning is clear. His commandment is for each and every one of us, individually and collectively, just as his love is for each and every one of us, individually and collectively.

Here’s my point — when we find collective ways to love each other by standing in solidarity, our unity breaks down barriers we cannot defeat individually.

We were created to need each other (Genesis 2:18) and find joy, encouragement and hope in others we often cannot find in ourselves. And we were created to serve with each other as the body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:27), doing together what we cannot do alone.

Act Personally, but Think Institutionally

In the weeks following George Floyd’s horrific death, there have been justified calls for people to stand up against racism and for justice, asking each of us to do what each of us can do. I’m suggesting that we add this resolution — let’s do together what we cannot do separately.

In View From the Top, Dr. Michael Lindsay shares leadership insights gained from personal interviews with US presidents and some of America’s top corporate and academic leaders. One of his conclusions is especially relevant today. To change the world, “act personally, but think institutionally.” He notes that “when institutional leaders are tethered to powerful organizations and connected to each other through networks, the potential for action and change is immeasurable.” We don’t have to be Fortune 100 CEOs to follow his advice.

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Ask God to show you ways he intends you to make a difference for the sake of racial unity and justice. Then ask him to show you those he intends you to join in this cause. If a ministry or organization already exists to advance this mission, join it. If one does not exist, start it. Develop networks to leverage your influence. Find people with whom to advance your mission.

Jesus promised “By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:35).

Do those who know you know that you are a disciple of our Lord?


Jim Denison, PhD, is the founder of Denison Forum with a reach of 1.7 million. He also serves as Resident Scholar for Ethics with Baylor Scott & White Health.

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