I was reading this downright bonkers article by Amy Zimmerman of The Daily Beast on the bus the other day and I want to talk about it.
The article is nuts; it talks about Justin Bieber’s increasing devotion to his religious faith and how that may be the reason for him to cancel the remaining dates of his worldwide concert tour. It also talks about his pastor, a dude named Carl Lentz, who may be to blame (thank) for the surprising cancellation.
In the piece, you’ll find this paragraph, which I have since filed under “future forehead tattoo ideas:”
So is this celebrity church as cult-y as it sounds? For Bieber, Hillsong, which started as an Australian Pentecostal megachurch in Sydney, and its NYC leader Carl Lentz have constituted his longest continuously running relationship. A 2015 GQ article by Taffy Brodesser-Akner tells the story of Bieber’s first brush with the trendy megachurch. According to the piece, 2014 Justin Bieber—that’s height-of-infamy, egging-his-neighbors Justin Bieber—moved in with Lentz and his family for a month and a half. “One day, according to Carl, Justin looked in the mirror and he was ravaged by feelings of loss. He got on his knees and he cried. ‘I want to know Jesus,’ Justin Bieber sobbed to Pastor Carl. And so together they prayed. Suddenly, Justin was overcome by the Gospel, and he said, ‘Baptize me.’ And Pastor Carl said, ‘Yes, buckaroo’—he really does call Bieber buckaroo, and now you should, too— ‘let’s do this. Let’s schedule a time.’ But Justin Bieber couldn’t be Justin Bieber for one minute longer. ‘No, I want to do it now.’” The almost too-touching-to-be-true story leads to Bieber and Lentz wandering around potential baptism spots, only to find hordes of paparazzi blocking their way at each location. Like a modern-day Mary, J.B., desperate and out of options, finally found his manger: NBA player (and friend of the church) Tyson Chandler’s huge Upper West Side bathtub.
I was so captivated by this one graph, I must have read it 8 times. It’s so good, so poetic. I’m also just so delighted to know that Bieber being baptized in Tyson Chandler’s bathtub is still relevant.
Since I’m still overseas, I usually miss the bulk of the interesting evening news drama, so I like to catch up on it the next morning on my way to work. Little did I know what I was about to stumble upon that morning.
The connection between Bieber’s story and the Knicks (other than Tyson Chandler's OAKAAK baptizin' tub, that is) is so, so rich.
Check out this recent article, written by Stefan Bondy in the New York Daily News. The piece starts by explaining why Kyrie Irving coming to the Knicks is still unlikely, and goes on to talk about how his pastor may have influenced the decision to ask for a trade from Cleveland.
Who is his pastor, you ask? It’s Carl Lentz.
I missed my bus stop that morning and showed up insanely late, in part because I was too busy picking my damn jaw from off the dirty ass Parisian pavement.
The common thread between Bieber and Kyrie’s drastic career decisions is Carl Lentz.
Irving, meanwhile, returned Wednesday from an overseas trip as a report surfaced about his hipster pastor, Carl Lentz, influencing the point guard's decision to request a trade.
Not that it indicates anything about Irving's next destination, but Lentz is a regular at Knicks games and close with assistant GM Allan Houston. However, a source told the Daily News that Lentz is not a fan of owner James Dolan, who once banned the pastor from being in the Knicks locker room, family room and team practices.
Side note: Allan Houston has a sketchy history when it comes to making his religious beliefs public.
I scoured the deepest regions of the internet, desperately searching for any public account of Lentz’ ban and why he and Dolan had beef in the first place. I was devastated to come up empty.
Apparently, Lentz carries a certain amount of clout in several circles, and has a number of high profile “clients.” Between the Bieb’s concert tour being cancelled and Kyrie’s trade request, it’s safe to say this dude has got some influence over the people he works with. Still, expecting to receive the same privileges as players' families is...umm...presumptuous.
For his access to the Knicks to be restricted by Dolan is poetic; when it comes to outsized feelings of entitlement, it takes one to know one. Or maybe it’s a story that has such outrageous subplots that it would obviously somehow involve the Knicks.
Kyrie not having a no-trade clause makes him unlikely to become a Knick. However, if he does somehow join the Knicks, I’d pay any amount of money to see a Dolan v. Lentz battle to the death in the Garden. Would not think twice.