With rumors swirling around about drug use you would think that this episode would be similar to Rumor Has It. But thankfully, that isn’t the case. This episode is far better. The story seems to unfold more naturally this time around and it’s less predictable. From the beginning we know something is slightly off about the basketball star Lightning Livingston but we don’t know what. He doesn’t want to answer questions about his retirement and the reporter briefly mentions the word “rumors” during the interview but doesn’t specify what he means. The ambiguity helps to draw the audience in.
Lightning escapes his awkward interview by suggesting the idea that he’s going to start doing basketball workshops with the kids of Odyssey. Jimmy even goes to his house and then Lightning drives him home. That’s a little unsettling, especially since these rumors about the star have yet to be defined. We first hear about Lightning’s rumored drug problem in Whit’s End. But unlike Rumor Has It, this episode doesn’t involve unbelievable theories about a mad scientist experimenting on animals. This time it’s a story that is all too familiar. And it isn’t just kids spreading the rumor this time. The reporter, an adult, lends it even more credibility.
The rumor about Lightning once being a drug addict turns out to be true. Does that justify all the gossiping about Lightning? Whit’s answer is no. He says Lightning’s drug use is nobody’s business except his and God’s. Ultimately that’s true, but things still have a cost when you’ve living in society. I don’t know what the NBA would have to say about this, but I’m assuming they would be interested in making this their business as well, considering Lightning took drugs throughout his final year as a basketball star. And parents also have every right to know if they’re going to have their children do workshops with Lightning.
There were two great moments in this episode where Lightning Livingstone revealed the wisdom he has gained since becoming a Christian. At one point Jimmy calls him the greatest. Lightning points out that only God is great. Jimmy clarifies his statement, saying he meant that, besides God, Lightning is the greatest. Lightning responds by saying “There’s no such thing.” This is quite true. Apart from God, nothing could exist. And we are all on a level playing field before him. The other great moment was at the end when Lightning talks about the Old Testament heroes who made mistakes. We even get another mention of David, who we heard in The Shepherd and the Giant. Lightning says people will let you down, but God never will. That message was really important and nicely put across in this episode. On the one hand, the concept of putting our faith in heroes or celebrities needs to be challenged and this was a strong reminder of that. On the other hand, when people do make mistakes, which they will, it’s also important to remember to show grace and forgiveness. This episode presented both sides well. It gets 4 out of 5 stars.