Read Ephesians 4:17-32.
“Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you” (v. 32).
One lie destroyed Dwane Casey’s coaching career. A few small acts of kindness restored it.
Casey lettered four times (1975-79) as a reserve guard at UK. Determined to be a coach, he was a Kentucky graduate assistant during the 1979-80 season.
A Japanese coach named Motoka Kohoma spent the season with the team, studying to become a better coach. He even lived for a time in the players’ dormitory. Casey’s heart went out to the lonely man. “I was just reaching out to someone who seemed like he needed a friend,” he said. Casey gave him rides to practice, ate meals with him, and helped him understand the terminology and the techniques at practice.
Casey was on Eddie Sutton’s staff at UK in 1988 when his world crashed around him. An Emery air freight employee claimed to have found an envelope with cash in it addressed from Casey to a recruit. In the wake of the accusation, the entire UK staff resigned after the 1988-89 season, and Casey was put on five years probation, his dreams of coaching apparently shattered forever.
He was sitting at home one evening in 1990 -- “not knowing which way I was going to go” -- when he received a phone call. It was Kohoma, who remembered Casey’s kindness toward him and now returned the favor in a huge way. He offered Casey a coaching job in Japan.
Ultimately, Casey won a lawsuit against Emery, and the NCAA ended his probation. He was exonerated. In 2005, he was named head coach of the Minnesota Timberwolves. In June 2011, he took the head job with the Toronto Raptors.
“It was a blessing for me,” Casey said of his time in Japan that got him back into coaching. It resulted from the blessings he had bestowed through his kindness to a lonely man far from home.
We may all talk about kindness, but moving beyond the talk to demonstrating kindness to others is so exceptional in our world that we take notice of it. Witness Motoka Kohoma’s remembering how kind Dwayne Casey had been to him. The person who finds a wallet with cash in it and returns it to the owner merits a spot on the evening news. So does the wealthy person who gives a big chunk of change to a hospital or a charity.
Practicing kindness is difficult because it requires us to move beyond our own selves to an awareness of the needs of others and a willingness to do something about those needs without any expectation of blessings in return. A kind person places others first. In an impersonal world, a kind person goes to the time and the trouble to establish personal contact – just as Jesus did and just as God did when he sent Jesus to us.
They were just small acts of kindness. – Dwane Casey on Motoka Kohoma
Practicing kindness is hard because it requires us to place others first, exactly the way Jesus lived among us.