Summer 2024

THE INCREASE: Ikki Soma - Integrity of the Heart

“My people, hear my teaching;

   listen to the words of my mouth.

I will open my mouth with a parable;

   I will utter hidden things, things from of old —

things we have heard and known,

   things our ancestors have told us.

We will not hide them from their descendants;

   we will tell the next generation

the praiseworthy deeds of the Lord,

   His power, and the wonders He has done.”

Psalm 78:1-4


This season with the Rockets, I went through a study of Biblical leadership. Leadership is the ability to influence the decisions, motives and emotions of others. And trust is the currency of influence.

How is trust developed? In Psalm 78:72, we read, “So he shepherded them according to the integrity of his heart, and guided them with his skillful hands.” King David led his people with character (integrity of heart) and competency (skillful hands).

In survey after survey, the No. 1 trait employees look for in a boss is integrity. Integrity simply means to be whole or authentic. It’s not superficial; it comes from the heart. A person with integrity is not perfect, but they freely confess their faults and offenses. They can be trusted because they follow through on their promises. They answer the question, “WILL they do it?” with a resounding “YES!” We develop integrity through an intimate walk with Jesus and with people who love us.

Competency is something most athletes and coaches know how to develop intuitively. We go to the gym an hour early to work on our shooting. We watch film. We go to practice and do drills over and over again. We go to coaching clinics. Competency is learned. Competency allows us to answer the question, “CAN they do it?” with a resounding “YES!” We develop competency through discipline.

So if you want to grow in your leadership, grow in two areas: character and competency.

— Ikki Soma, Houston Rockets chaplain

The Increase, part of the Sports Spectrum Network, is a community of Christian pro athletes sharing their personal stories of the decrease of self and the increase of Christ (John 3:30). Visit for more stories and videos.