Day 37: The Ojeleye Factory

Today is Day 37 of the Omer. Gevurah sheb’yesod. Strength that emerges from righteousness. 

Yesod (foundation) integrates and channels the energy of the upper sefirot into malchut. It is associated with Joseph because he was able to resist temptation and live a righteous life. One Day 37, that righteous, focussed energy manifests as gevurah (power, strength). 

While, there are only six players in NBA history to wear #37, it is hard to imagine a better match than Semi Ojeleye of the Boston Celtics. Ojeleye’s basketball journey has been unique. He became Parade’s National High School Player of the Year in Ottawa, KS after averaging 38 points/game, only to struggle in two years at Duke. After transferring and sitting out a season, he became a star at Southern Methodist University and the AAC Player of the Year. 

In the NBA, Ojeleye has become a defensive specialist for the Boston Celtics, often gaurading elite players like league MVP, Giannis Antetokounmpo, in crucial playoff moments. At only 6’6”, Ojeleye is able to guard much bigger and taller players because of his incredible strength. Stuck behind Boston’s glut of talented wings, Ojeleye has logged many DNP-CD’s in his young career, but he stays ready with intense workouts that shake the walls of TD Garden. 

He’s been expanding his offensive game too, improving his three point percentage each year, up to 36.7% in 2019-20. While other players might grow frustrated with the lack of opportunity in Boston, Ojeleye’s strong Christian faith has kept him focussed and humble. It’s the righteousness that’s at the core of his strength.

In an essay entitle, “Don’t Shortchange God,” Ojeleye wrote that: 

God has gotten me this far in my career. I cannot shortchange God or believe that what I can do is from my own ability. I am only limited by the amount of faith I have. He brought me here for a reason, not to embarrass or shortchange me at all, but to do something great with my life. 

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