A key characteristic many great leaders have is “tenacious resilience.”
It was early in the morning [in 2018] when I first heard about “The Trade”. The Toronto Raptors sent all-star DeMar DeRozan and some spare parts to the San Antonio Spurs for super-star Kawi Leonard and Danny Green. Upon hearing of “The Trade”, the majority of Raptor fans were indignant with this move.
DeMar DeRozan was an athlete who was loyal to the city he represented on and off the court. He had spent his entire career with the Raptors and was loved in Toronto as both a great player and a fine young man. All throughout the city, people were wearing their DeRozan Number 10 jerseys as a sign of grieving over the news of the trade, as their hero had endeared himself to a city that loved him immensely. In response to the trade, DeRozan was heartbroken, saddened to leave and upset that a team he thought promised he would never be traded, dealt him to San Antonio.
Raptors President Masai Ujiri exhibited great courage in making this trade. He fully understood the fallout that would accompany trading the popular DeRozan, but something had to happen. It was clear that his team that performed so well during the regular season, could not get the job done under the pressure of the playoffs. Changes had to take place, and Ujiri already began the process by boldly firing their coach (who just won “Coach of the Year”). Now he had to change the current core of the team as they visibly lacked the inner fortitude to win a championship. If this issue wasn’t addressed, Toronto would never have a chance of even making it to an NBA Final. So Masai Ujiri made an unpopular decision to replace DeMar DeRozan with 2014 NBA Finals MVP — Kawai Leonard.
If this trade works or doesn’t work for the Raptors, one thing must be said about Masai Ujiri — love him or loathe him — he is not the kind of man who is satisfied with mediocrity. He has the courage to make changes in order to win no matter how unpopular they might be. Ujiri did what he thought was the best thing for his team and by doing this he has risked his reputation and job in order to win a championship for the city of Toronto at great personal risk.
Masai Ujiri is a great leader exhibiting the strong fortitude that his team lacks. His inner strength was developed through life experiences. Originally from Nigeria, he has had to work hard to overcome obstacles to get to where he is at in his stage of life. His work ethic and mental toughness are legendary. He even spent time as an unpaid scout for the NBA’s Orlando Magic, paying his own way and sharing rooms with scouts or players when he had to. He knows from personal experience that progress cannot occur without a price to be paid and that true greatness cannot be achieved without great risk. His leadership trait of tenacious resilience has made him a great leader and might just win him an NBA championship ring.
Tenacious resilience. It is a key characteristic of great leaders and a distinctive trait that we as men must have. In 2 Timothy 4:6–8 we read Paul’s words to Timothy while awaiting his execution. This leader, who suffered torture, beatings, jailings, and abandonment for the Lord, reveals his tenacious resiliency when he shares.
“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day.
Men, be tenacious and resilient in following the Lord no matter what the cost or risk it entails, for when it comes to leading your life and family and impacting the world for Jesus, never forget the prize awaiting you. As for me, I’ll take the crown of righteousness over a silly NBA Championship ring any day of the week.