From espn.com comes this touching story about the grace shown by one basketball team towards another:

“Milwaukee Madison senior Johntell Franklin, who lost his mother, Carlitha, to cancer on Saturday, Feb. 7, decided he wanted to play in that night’s game against DeKalb (Ill.) High School after previously indicating he would sit out.

He arrived at the gym in the second quarter, but Franklin’s name was not in the scorebook because his coach, Aaron Womack Jr., didn’t expect him to be there.

Rules dictated Womack would have to be assessed a technical, but he was prepared to put Franklin in the game anyway. DeKalb coach Dave Rohlman and his players knew of the situation, and told the referees they did not want the call.

The referees had no choice. But Rohlman did.

“I gathered my kids and said, ‘Who wants to take these free throws?'” Rohlman said, recounting the game to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. “Darius McNeal(pictured above) put up his hand. I said, ‘You realize you’re going to miss, right?’ He nodded his head.”

McNeal, a senior point guard, went to the line. The Milwaukee Madison players stayed by their bench, waiting for the free throws. Instead of seeing the ball go through the net, they saw the ball on the court, rolling over the end line. “I turned around and saw the ref pick up the ball and hand it back to the player,” Womack said in the Journal Sentinel. “And then [McNeal] did the same thing again.”

Said Rohlman: “Darius set up for a regular free throw, but he only shot it two or three feet in front of him. It bounced once or twice and just rolled past the basket.”

To me, the interesting thing about this story is the inescapability of the law. The DeKalb coach wanted to “let it(the foul) go”, but the referees simply wouldn’t allow it. Yet it was their very insistence that the law be fulfilled that led to the graciousness of Darius McNeal.
In basketball, as in life, grace only makes sense, is only felt, in light of the unwavering, unmerciful demand of the law. Darius, in missing the free throws, in giving up the points, giving up his right to them, was truly Christ-like.