February 18, 2016
I’ve always said this and I will continue to say this, there are two things that cannot be taught in sport. Those two things are, passion and effort and this goes across all sports, not just basketball. Either you have it, or you don’t. Either you want it, or you don’t and really its all up to you. It’s a personal decision, a commitment that you make to yourself, a deep desire to be a player that refuses to just get by but willing to do whatever it takes to be successful. I’m sure you’ve all heard the quote “Hard work beats talent when talent fails to work hard.” Not sure who came up with this but they were on to something. Most notably, Kevin Durant referenced this as one of his favorite quotes. If one of the best basketball players in the world who is naturally talented recognizes this why is this missed by way too many athletes these days.
I got a little off track with the hard work but these things all tie into one another. Passion. Effort. Hard work. You can learn to work hard, I did. I was naturally talented as a young player, so often times I was better than my opponents without having to try very hard. I thank God for blessing me with those talents but when I was younger I took those things for granted. It wasn’t until I got to college that I realized that I hadn’t been working hard enough. Yes I spent countless hours in the gym practicing, going to tournaments, I even had a personal trainer but I could have done more. The funny thing is, you sometimes convince yourself that you are doing all you can, when in fact you could be doing more, you could be going harder, you could be finding more ways to become a better player. I’ll make this part brief because this post isn’t about me but when I arrived at college, yes I was a good basketball player but I wasn’t the best I could be and I wasn’t working as hard as I could. One thing I have a lot of, sometimes too much, is pride, and my pride willed me to work harder, to want to be better. My teammate at Duke Alana Beard was a true example of a player that was filled to the brim with passion and effort and I learned from her. She challenged me everyday and she probably doesn’t even know it but she is one of the reasons I worked and continue to work to be the best player that I can be. I swear Alana never got tired! She would run and run and run and one time I asked her “how are you never tired?” She was like “I do get tried! But I’m not gonna stop. You have to just keep moving your legs!” It was funny then, but looking back, it can be as simple as that. Don’t stop moving. But this isn’t something a coach or a trainer can teach you. You have to desire these things, you have to want it more than your opponent, you have to want it for yourself. You have to be passionate about it and put an all out effort into it.
I just can’t wrap my mind around why someone would go out onto the court and not give their full effort. What is the point of being out there? You might as well stay home, or take up another profession if you’re not going to give your all. Now trust me, I have days when I don’t feel like doing anything related to basketball, “we talkin bout practice! Not a game.” We all have those days and that’s fine, it comes with the territory. However, this cannot be a general theme if you want to be successful. I’m telling you, passion and effort will take you a very long way! It’s not even about the talent sometimes, basketball is a team sport so you don’t even have to be the most talented on your team but you can be the one with the most passion, that gives the most effort. I fall short often times, more times than I like, but one thing I’m not or ever will be is a quitter and when I step on the court I will compete to the very end. Its not too late though, you can find your passion and you can give more effort to be the best player that YOU can be. All you have to do is make that decision for yourself and go out and do it! It’s as simple as that. When you are living in your purpose, your passion will come through.