OKLAHOMA CITY — Norris Cole, a Church of Christ member who has discussed fame, faith and daily Bible reading in interviews with The Christian Chronicle, is signing with the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Cole confirmed the news on Twitter:
Yahoo! Sports reported Wednesday:
After creating roster space in a trade that included Cameron Payne, the Oklahoma City Thunder and free agent Norris Cole have agreed to a contract for the remainder of the season, league sources told The Vertical.Chronicle correspondent Murray Evans profiled Cole during the 2012 NBA Finals, in which Miami faced Oklahoma City:
Cole, 28, won two NBA championships with the Miami Heat in 2012 and 2013, and has served as a reliable backup point guard in five NBA seasons. Cole will back up Thunder All-Star guard Russell Westbrook after the departure of Payne.
On the night before the biggest game of his basketball career — one that would make his team the NBA champion — Norris Cole was where he often can be found: at a Church of Christ service in Miami, worshiping God with his family and friends.
Cole, a rookie guard for the Miami Heat, was a key reserve all season and hit three big 3-pointers in the NBA Finals as the Heat beat the Oklahoma City Thunder in five games to win the title. During media interview times between games, he’d chat with ESPN basketball analysts and wave to reporters like they were old friends.
But through all the hoopla, those close to Cole say he’s remained grounded and faithful to the principles taught to him by his parents, Norris Sr. and Diane Cole, and reinforced by the brethren at the Webster Street Church of Christ in Dayton, Ohio, and more recently, the Miami Gardens Church of Christ in suburban Miami.
“A lot of people have grown up and decided not to keep the Christian faith, but you have to separate yourself,” Cole said before the opening game of the NBA Finals in Oklahoma City.
“It’s like being in the NBA,” he said. “Not everybody can play in the NBA. You have to discipline yourself so that you can sustain and that you can make it. The same thing goes for Christianity.”
The following spring, Cole talked more in depth about his faith with Chronicle President and CEO Lynn McMillon. Read McMillon's 2013 Dialogue conversation with Cole.
Organizers of Polishing the Pulpit, an annual gathering that draws thousands of members of Churches of Christ to the Smoky Mountains in East Tennessee, said they were excited to welcome Cole last year: