We all enter our careers for different reasons. There really isn’t one right answer or reason why we choose the career paths that we do. Everyone is their own person and need to decide for themselves why they make the choices that they do. The only person that can answer this question is you.
Have you ever asked yourself why you chose to get in the profession of basketball? Did that reason change for you along the way? If it did change it’s perfectly normal. We all need money to feed our families and want to try to be on top of our industry. The main question is what drew you to basketball?
Our society has turned to a “look at me” world. Many people turn to professions like coaching basketball to quickly climb the ladder of success. They see people like Tom Crean, John Calipari, Doc Rivers, and Rick Pitino and try to emulate their success. Most young coaches/skill trainers want to be at the top of their industry by trying to be famous or make as much money that they can. There is nothing wrong with networking and trying to get ahead, but skipping steps can be negative to ones personal development.
With so much self-promotion going on through social networks and other technological advances some young coaches turn to that instead of developing their value and craft. It is important to be honest with yourself in why you chose to get into basketball.
I’ll share with you why I got into this sport. I’ve always been interested in helping people. It never was about moving up ladders or promoting myself. I wanted to meet as many great people in the game to learn form as possible. When I was 18 years old entering coaching it was about helping and learning. Since then I’ve had the opportunity to work with some of the best players on the planet including Kobe Bryant for four seasons. I’m very grateful for the people who spent their precious time to help educate me about basketball as well as life.
I’ve been very lucky and fortunate to have had some of the best mentors in basketball take me under their wing. Not only did these people teach me X’s & O’s and player development, but also how to respect the game and the good people that are in it. Most of the people that are successful in this game has had help in reaching the place in which they are currently are at. You can never forget the people that help mold and shape you in your career.
There are so many people that I owe in basketball and in life that made it clear to me why I should be in the business of basketball. Jim Nelson(Suffolk University) Leo Papile, Tim Grover, George Raveling, Rod Baker, Herb Livsey, Tates Locke, Kevin McHale, Dave Severns, Frank Catapano, Max Good, Frank Martin and Danny Ainge have been my biggest influences in the game. Without the influence of these people in my life I don’t think I would have done anything in this sport. They taught me that helping people should be the biggest reason that you enter the game as a coach. Listing their names in this article wasn’t about self promotion, but to pay thanks for them as well as to show how grateful that I am that they were in my life.
My philosophy has always been try to impact people. I’ve made economic and career sacrifices to always be in position to help the players and staff members that have worked for me. I never look down or think negatively about the people who are in the sport for different reasons for myself. I think when you start to do that it just a waste of time. Impacting people is what life is all about not just in sports.
As a coach there are so many ways that you can impact the players that you coach. Sure you can spend time with them to become better basketball players and that’s the fun part of it, but you also have the opportunity to influence them off the court as well. Teaching them about hard work, respect, and accountability. Those are three things that our young people today are lacking so much of.
I think especially for coaches at the young levels if there can be more of an emphasis on those three things that our young people in the world can be more successful. You can’t just spend time quoting inspirational speakers to your players and expect them to be motivated. You have to roll your sleeves up and go to work to make your players better basketball players and more importantly better people. I just don’t think you can be good at those things if you are just coaching for fame and money.
It’s easy for me to say these things when money and fame isn’t something that motivates me. Maybe if I was into that I’d be singing a different tune. But I am very happy the way my life and career has turned out to date. The players that I spend time with can honestly tell you that I give them everything that I have o try to impact them in a positive way. Coaching is so much more than X’s and O’s and the people who mentored me in my life have told me that on a daily basis. It has made me such a better coach and person when educating people.
Players are not the only ones that look up to us as coaches. It is your other coaches and support staff that work hard for you. Every intern or coach that has worked for me I’ve always tried to help. I think it makes you better at your job if you can educate others on the things that help you get to where you are. Support staff isn’t just about doing errands for you and tasks that you don’t want to do. They are people that were just like you when you were young trying to make it up the ladder. Without the help of someone it will be hard for them to make it on their own. I don’t know anyone in the profession of coaching or management that wasn’t helped by someone.
When you are young you never think about time. Time is something that is taken for granted too much in life. At the snap of a finger 15-20 years pass and hopefully in that time you got a chance to not only acquire knowledge and notoriety but also got to impact someone’s life. When you get to a certain age you stop receiving things and assistance from people and you start to give assistance and knowledge to others. I don’t think you can ever stop learning and improving yourself, but there comes a time when you stop being mentored and start to mentor others. It is a tremendous feeling when given the opportunity to do so.
Since I’ve gotten into basketball my mission has always been clear. I’ve learned form a young age that we only get so many days on this Earth and not to spend it trying to make others better is just wasted time. So when you get time to yourself try to remember why you got into basketball and take a count of how many people that you tried to help and get better. I bet it’s not as many as you think and there’s always another person to help.