Every time I come to play (aka work), I often think of these 9 NBA (former and current) players. They helped me build my vision with their story because it had a positive influence on my life, and ultimately, helped guide me through the creative process of creating The Basketball Lab.
I’ve seen a lot of players on the north shore over the years and I wanted to extend this out to those who not only read this, but, love the game as either a player or coach. In my self-reflection, I hope to connect to those who are true fans of the game, and more importantly, a student of the game.
Charles Barkley – reading his bio, Sir Charles, back in college taught me the effectiveness of jump training. You can’t lead the league in rebounds at 6’4″ with desire alone. You need great leaping ability as well.
Scottie Pippen – reading his bio, Rise & Shine, back in college as well taught me you don’t have to have early success to be great at something. Persistence pays off.
Steph Curry – a true game changer who wasn’t heavily recruited out of high school, he’s the current MVP for a reason and it’s not because of a great genetics and height.
Steve Nash – I saw him play at the Agrodome in 1992 in the High School Championship game against Pitt Meadows. He was 10 levels higher than anyone on the court. Despite only one Div. 1 offer to Santa Clara and a sub-par freshman year, his incredible work ethic, high basketball IQ, and selfless play made him a 2-time NBA MVP. You can’t knock him because he didn’t win a title. He will probably win one as a GM or owner.
Magic Johnson – my all-time favourite basketball player. Reading his book, Magic’s Touch, in high school made me carry a basketball everywhere with me. I wish more kids on the north shore would dribble on the streets as they’re walking to and from.
Larry Bird – my second favourite player of all-time. You can’t have a hero (Magic Johnson) without a villain. They brought the best out of each other and revitalized the NBA in the 80’s, winning a combined 8 championships together. His book, Drive, talks about how he shot 500 free-throws every morning at 6am.
Kobe Bryant – he learned to be a better leader as he matured and his ‘workout until he almost passes out’ stories are not rumours. He gave the game everything he could.
Michael Jordan – the only reason he’s not #1 on my list is because he had gifts that Magic and Larry didn’t have (which I can relate to more). Arguably the best talent the game has seen.
Hakeem “The Dream” Olajuwon – when I think of footwork, finesse, strength, power, and speed, it’s only the beginning. He’s the consummate professional and a coach’s dream. His back to back titles in ’94 and ’95 are still fresh in mind today.
Having said all that – I see 6 types of players today (starting with the most common) and I can assure you’re if not 100% one of them, you may be a combination of 2, rarely 3.
Player 1 – average athleticism, average work ethic – you are the general population, you don’t like getting out of your comfort zone so you never stretch the limits to what you can achieve.
Solution: In order to break the habit of settling for being average, demand more from yourself than anyone ever will. That life skill will stay with you forever.
Player 2 – average athleticism, above average work ethic – you understand the need to work harder because you are results-driven and won’t let anything get in your way.
Solution: continue to work hard by spending extra time working on your athleticism and skills.
Player 3 – below average athleticism, average work ethic – you will have a short career unless you’re willing to change.
Solution – work twice as hard as everyone else on all facets on your game and specialize in 1 area (ie. Kyle Korver, 3 pointers).
Player 4 – below average athleticism, above average work ethic – you probably have Steve Nash Syndrome (are actually coachable and work tirelessly on your game mostly on your own and enjoy great success or in most cases, have Napolean Syndrome (short man complex) where you have a lot of ego to compensate for a lack of talent and you are not coachable or when you play, it just doesn’t look you’re having fun out there.
Solution – Steve Nash Syndrome (you are the solution) to keep doing what you are doing or Napolean Syndrome (stop blaming your coaches or genetics for a lack of performance) and start to point to yourself, accept responsibility (and reality) that it’s going to be a tough grind and you need a personality makeover to move forward.
Player 5 – above average athleticism, average work ethic – you’ll get by your high school teams because you are more athletic and won’t find the motivation to work harder. Eventually, less talented players will surpass you.
Solution – appreciate your athletic talent and motivate yourself to see far you can go (if basketball is your passion).
Player 6 – above average athleticism, above average work ethic – you have all the tools to be great.
Solution – stay focused, stay humble, and surround yourself with character people.