Matt Rogers’ countenance was light when he started sharing what happened to him nearly a year ago while playing as an import in one of the club teams in Lebanon.
The 6’11” Rogers, who’ll be playing as San Mig Coffee’s import (one of the professional basketball teams in the Philippine Basketball Association) starting this February 8, suffered a serious facial injury after being accidentally elbowed during his first game in Lebanon.
He played just 13 minutes, an experience that seemed forgettable for an athlete who was trying to establish his professional basketball career outside the United States.
Five days after that horrible career-threatening injury, Rogers was flown back to the US where he underwent reconstructive surgery on his face.
After being sidelined for eight weeks to fully recover from the injury, Rogers, a follower of Christ since he was 10, found strength in God’s word.
Romans 8:28, in the New Living Translation says, “And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.”
“Having my faith in God reassures me that He has a plan for my life through trials, tribulations, injuries or cuts or whatever struggles I go through, God always has the best in store for you,” Rogers testified.
“As we always say at Elevate Life Church (in Frisco, Texas), if God doesn’t have it for you here, then He’s just got something better in store for you. It’s kind of been my motto for the last few years,” he added.
The trials, he said, strengthened his Christian faith as he saw his basketball career blossom since that Lebanon mishap.
“God has continued to bless me and show me who He is,” he said.
Since recovering from the facial injury, God opened a door for Rogers to join the Indiana Pacers in the Summer League last year, where he averaged decent numbers – 4.2 points, 1.5 rebounds and 1.2 steals in four games.
Though he failed to make it to the Pacers’ final roster, Rogers landed a contract in Spain where he played for the Leyma Natura Coruna in the Liga Espanola de Baloncesto (LEB) Gold League.
After his stint in the Spanish league, Rogers accepted the latest offer to play for the Mixers, where he hopes to be able to help the team defend the Commissioner’s Cup crown this season.
While still believing he could play in the NBA soon, the 225-pound Rogers toiled for the Texas Legends during the 2010- 2011 and 2011-2012 NBA D-League seasons, averaging 7.3 points, 4.3 rebounds and 1.1 blocks in a total of 78 games.
Rogers said he sees himself starting a church someday, knowing that God could use his profession as a platform to bring more people to Christ.
“One day, I’d like to start a church or mission or do something in the field to further the Kingdom (of God),” he said.
“I’d like to use basketball as a platform to kick off whatever God wants me to start. I won’t be surprised if one day, my ministry is branched off from that church (Elevate Life), maybe somewhere in Texas or maybe in the Philippines,” shared the soft-spoken alumnus of Southwest Baptist University.