Dawn Staley and Lebron James: Fire-Brand Performers Who Push the Limits of Their Game and Help Light-up the Team Stats Frame

So where are folks headed on spring break these days? Well, it depends on who you ask. Some travelled south to the warm weather of Florida. It’s always been the spring break capital for college students. This year with folks wanting to get past Covid restrictions, things have kinda gotten out of hand.  

Same time, the NCAA March Madness frenzy has landed in Indy! Yea, on the women’s side it’s in San Antonio. March Madness is also a place people go on spring break to raise their praise for breakout performances. Of course, there’s always the Cinderella team that busts up the brackets.

For those wondering or asked the question, Where do folks go to understand greatness? Well, we see it in the play of Lebron James and the eyes of coach Dawn Staley. James has had to sit-out a few games after a high-ankle sprain injury. He’s missing the chance of the Lakers being positioned for a playoff run.

Staley recently called out the NCAA for disparities in supporting women’s teams. After pics went viral on social media showing a less-than-stellar setup for their facilities, Staley wrote an open letter calling out the diss. Her take was the NCAA message of “togetherness and equality” was just marketing jargon.

James and Staley bring focus on issues of social justice. They’re admired by peers, players and the hometown posse for using their platform to spur reform. While they get attention for putting their names to causes, it’s also how they put passion on the line, reminding us of how greatness is tied to:          

  • Gifting

A proverb says, “a man’s gift makes room for him and brings him in front of great people.” Well, think of that in universal terms and you can see why James at his age is still performing at a high level and Staley has such impactful coaching. Your gifting when tied to passion makes you do stuff that folks can’t teach.  

  • Branding

James doesn’t only marvel us on the court, he also has his hands in biz ventures and social projects. His career track might have started out with basketball, but his branding has reached new heights in media, fashion, entertainment and sports. He recently became part owner in the Boston Red Sox franchise.          

  • Networking

A recent story on Staley shared how much her success has inspired other women to consider coaching. Plus, there’s a whole eco system of black women in particular who’re plugged-in to what Staley has done throughout her career as a player, recruiter and U.S. head coach for the upcoming Tokyo Olympics.       

  • Collaborating

After events of social protest prompted by the George Floyd killing, James rallied an investment group to purchase the WNBA Atlanta Dream. While he’s not the main figure in the new ownership structure, he’s the main player that helped bring together a collaboration of interested parties to secure the deal.   

The “Cinderella Team” stories will get told throughout March Madness. You might even hear some players being described as ‘supernova athletes.’ There’s room to do something special on the court or in one’s career for those whose performance push the limits of their game and light-up the team stats frame.               

Tip: You create your own “Cinderella Story” by how you bring passion to the table in ways that maximize your gifting, branding, networking and collaborating.

Talkback: Did the NCAA miss the mark or drop the ball on the women’s facilities in March Madness?

Tracks: Usher – No Limit – https://youtu.be/3w0yqAdJ1iY

Khalid – Disclosure (Know Your Worth) – https://youtu.be/aEDULPGIwcg

Oprah and Tim Cook: Two Master Leaders Working with Others to Turn Personal Crossroads or Career Setbacks into Life Skills for the Ages

This isn’t a sequel, but it might as well be now that the Oprah interview with Harry and Meghan has landed. The much-anticipated sit-down with them had its share of ‘ooh and ahh’ moments. Oprah is known to celebrate aha moments too, but those will come later as she reads the media tea leaves.

Then there’s the story of Malala Yousafzai who is now a college graduate and working her way into the biz world. She’s teamed-up with AppleTV+ and CEO Tim Cook in developing human-interest stories that bring hope and connects with hearts. Malala sees him as a mentor and he sees her as a walking miracle.

The Orpah interview attracted 17 million viewers. That’s just for starters as folks who missed it are likely to stream it. The ‘tea spills and bombshell kills’ from them has royal watchers gasping for air. But there’s a growing divide between those who think they were brave and those who think it was attention crave.

In Malala, Cook sees someone who has already created a shift in her home country. It’s the kind thing where “if people can see it then they can believe it even more.” That’s what Malala represents to girls in her recovery for near human tragedy. If was a kind of personal crossroads that she had to face head on.

With Harry and Meghan, it’s confusing if they left the Palace or the Palace left them. He gave up his military role and lost his royal title. She gave up her partnership with his many causes. But once folks get pass the Palace intrigue and tabloid drama, their life skills lessons for the ages include what they:  

  • Learn

How they got here isn’t just about what happened to them, but also what happened in them. For Harry it’s probably what he learned watching how his mother was treated when he was a child. For Malala it’s in how she found strength, courage and wisdom during recovery, even with the threat of further harm.  

  • Share

Meghan tried to dance a delicate balance in what she shared and how she dropped some nuggets. Those nuggets provided insight but might even bring some foresight for how she plans to make a difference from the experience. Sometimes what we share is invaluable, especially for others in the same boat.        

  • Plant

Everyone understands the idea of “you reap what you sow.” But the pain of loneliness that Meghan mentioned isn’t something she brought on herself. Nor were the multiple surgeries that Malala had to go through. They’re turning those personal crossroads and career setbacks into a bigger field of dreams.    

  • Sell

At the top of the interview, Oprah made clear that they weren’t getting paid for the ‘tell-all.’ But that’s not where the story ends. She asked Meghan how she plans to apply lessons learned to the company they formed. Her answer of “using the company to capture stories” wasn’t only a tell but also a sell.  

The total footage of the interview was three hours plus. They had to pare it down to around 80 minutes. There’s probably other stuff that didn’t make it to the highlight reel but might be important life lessons on how to heal. How they get there is as much about feelings of melancholy and not to sweat the technique.              

Tip: How we move past personal crossroads and career setbacks might mean handling feelings of melancholy and working through things but not sweat the small stuff.

Talkback: What was the most surprising bombshell from the Meghan & Harry interview?

Tracks: Nailah Blackman  – Melancholy – https://youtu.be/qsu1rYipDOU

Eric B & Rakim  – Don’t Sweat the Technique – https://youtu.be/6Y1Emb7Jyks