EP1: Basketball and Spirituality

Comments: 20

What does basketball have to do with spirituality? In my very first episode of the “Elevated Conversations” podcast, I explore two of my favorite topics (basketball and spirituality) and share my thoughts on how they overlap.

The podcast breaks down the history of sports and basketball and shares some Baha’i writings on the topic. I also break down my “5 spiritual lessons” we can learn from my favorite sport: basketball!

5 spiritual lessons:

  1. You need to know the rules to succeed
  2. Everyone has different talents and strengths
  3. Cheerleaders and fans help
  4. We need to have a good coach
  5. Practice makes progress


The Function of Sports in Life by Shoghi Effendi

Letter from the Universal House of Justice to the President of Brazil on the eve of the 2014 World Cup:

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I hope you enjoy the first episode of the podcast, and I look forward to your feedback so I can refine the program and bring you more uplifting, educational, and inspiring content!


  • Kandice Christian says:

    Great ideas about how to look at our daily activities that might not seem connected to our spiritual development. Looking for the spiritual lessons that can be learned gives meaning to almost any acivity. A blueprint for leading an integrated life!

    • Thanks Kandice! YESSS this is so true! When we see how EVERYTHING has a connection to our spiritual nature, it brings an elevated meaning to all of our actions. True integration and coherency! Was really fun exploring this from the lens of basketball, and I’m excited to diver deeper into may other topics with a similar approach :).

  • David D says:

    I’m not a basketball (or any) sport fan since the end of the Larry Bird era, and personal spiritual re-prioritizing. However I’m finding that there are many topics that can be looked at differently that make them interesting to me. You’ve done that.
    Co-workers listen to sports talk radio, which I find to be a gargantuan waste of time and divergence into idle fancy & vain imaginings, and even idol worshipping.
    Sports observance, being a topic that can easily become the target of judgement arrows, you’ve done an excellent job in neutralizing that for me. I intend on listening to more. Your east coast friend. David D.


    • I can definitely resonate with this! I feel like I developed a deep love for sports at a young age, definitely flirted with making it a “vain imagining” by putting way too much time into watching sports, playing sports videogames, keeping up on sports news, etc. And now in my 30’s I’m learning how I can use sports positively, while sticking within the bounds of moderation. Happy to hear that the podcast gave you a fresh perspective!! 🙂

  • Richard Jeffers says:

    Your Podcast brought back many memories of when I was the all time assist leader and MVP of my basketball team at Dana Hills High School “78” and later trying to get you and Emery to love the game. I often found it a challenge not to become “fanatically devoted” with practicing countless hours on my point guard skills at the expense of feeling I was not developing my spiritual character in spending time serving the community. I wish I could have listened to your podcast 40 years ago so I could have reflected on your great wisdom and insight in the 5 spiritual lessons to guide me through my sports career and life journey. I give your first podcast 5 stars! Love Always, Dad

    • thanks for helping me cultivate a love of the game at a young age, daddo! Yes, the Jeffers bloodline definitely has a certain type of passion and intensity that can make it tricky to be moderate in the amount of zeal we dedicate to any given activity. I think the key is seeing the coherence between all of our pursuits. Thanks for the continual flow of love and support!

  • Gary Boivin says:

    I couldn’t leave a review, per se, on Apple, as I don’t have either a Mac or an i-Pod. However, if I could leave a rating, it’d be 5 stars. You covered the ties between spirituality and sports completely and in an articulate manner.John Wooden, the late coach of UCLA Men’s Basketball, comes to mind, with regard to the type of coach you describe. I like the recognition you give to Girls Sports. The notion that girls don’t need athletic outlets seems so quaint and ludicrous. Your treatment of the girls and development of their skills is admirable.

    • hey Gary, thanks for the kind words! Glad to hear that you enjoyed listening to the podcast, and found certain segments particularly inspiring. John Wooden is a legend! I’ll have to read up more on him… I just finished reading a book by basketball’s founder, James Naismith, who also seems to have been a really good dude! Hoping to share a few more insights on part 2 of this theme, coming soon! 🙂

  • Jason says:

    With sports being a true meritocracy, it has been valuable in breaking some of our cultural prejudices and biases. On a local level, many high school athletes have made lifelong friendships with teammates of a different ethnicity. On a national level, sports has allowed some fans the ability to appreciate and admire athletes for their achievements over their ethnicity as well. Thanks for the topic Colby!

    • Awesome thoughts Jason! This is one of things I love most about sports… it’s ability to bring people together in ways other activities/spaces/arenas have failed to. It draws me back to the letter written by the Universal House of Justice to the President of Brazil during the 2014 Soccer World Cup, where they stated…

      “Few occasions can claim to embrace so wide a cross-section of humanity, comprising peoples of varied ethnic, religious, and cultural backgrounds. It is clear to every observer that the sport that has brought these nations to Brazil is only strengthened by the marvellous diversity ofthe participants. To rejoice in this fact is to reject prejudice in all its forms. Truly, nothing is more striking about this extraordinary footballing spectacle than its capacity to reflect the global culture that has emerged in this age. And in summoning together the nations in friendship, it powerfully suggests that collaboration and common endeavour are possible in all things.”

      Certain examples and occasions in sports have shown us humanity’s ability to reject prejudice. That’s AMAZING! Sports show us that collaboration and common endeavor are possible, if we simply have the will to do it. When viewed from this lens, sports are pretty freakin’ inspiring!!

  • Joel says:

    Great first episode!!! I love how you contextualized everything you discussed; looking at the history, defining terms, and going directly to sources. I appreciate how you connected two seemingly unrelated topics to elevate the conversation we have on sports and spirituality. Looking forward to more material like this!

    • It was super fun to work on the podcast, because it forced me to dig deeper than I normally would. In fact, it’s got me digging even deeper SINCE releasing the podcast! lol. I think I’m going to have to release a part 2 to this podcast topic! Stay tuned for the next episode… 😎👍

  • Monica says:

    Colby has a genuine interest in humankind and his words, songs, and actions are instruments to change the world into a better, kinder, more inclusive world!

  • Houman says:

    Loved it dear Colby

  • Howard says:

    Love it Colby!
    Great history lesson on basketball, (one of my favorites too)and spiritual lessons!!
    Well said🙏
    Look forward to having you share your message at the raisethevibration one day gathering in Phoenix in Sept:-)

  • Chloe says:

    This was super cool, Colby! I loved the format and the simply listed comparables! What a great reminder for what our souls & bodies need! Also, I know what a point guard is now. 😂 so glad I tuned in! Will definitely be back for more!

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