There’s more to basketball, than basketball! That’s how Tracee Ellie Ross begins as the narrator of that new TV ad. It gives us a behind-the-scenes look at the challenges that NBA players had to overcome this season. When the first player tested positive for Covid-19, the league decided to shutdown all games.
Then, a few months later, a careful restart was underway with the playoffs. The players would live in a ‘bubble’ on the grounds of the ABC Sports complex. In the case of the WNBA they also went through a similar process, but they’d restart games at another venue with similar restrictions.
Well, they made it through without a virus outbreak and crowned the champions. The Seattle Storm won their 4th trophy while the Los Angeles Lakers won their 17th. Their records say a lot about the ABCs of bringing your A-game, having a B-side to life-balance and proving your value to the C-suite execs.
Lebron James still has some playing days left in him, while former WNBA player Dawn Staley has since left the game and is now a college coach. They give us lessons in rising, winning and shining at work, play and round-the-way. It’s also what the TV ad tries to do without selling their next breakout shoe.
The importance of sports to biz and culture is well known. Whether at a restaurant, bar or hometown playground, folks talk about, study and emulate their fav player. It’s more than just what they do on the court that matters. They know that with preparation, passion and practice you can go the distance with:
- Work Ethic
Both James and Staley have played on Olympic teams. They made it there because of talent and work ethic. It’s the things you do that no one has to tell you that you have to do. You might do it for the love of the game. But there’s a need to improve, invest or capitalize on skills because work ethic demands it.
- Team Dream
When pro players started going to the Olympics, they first became known as the “Dream Team.” They were among the best of the best in the game at any level. But what James has been able to do wherever he goes in the league is to have others commit to the team dream. That’s how they step-up their game.
- Game Changer
When league play was put on hold, James wasn’t gung-ho about playing without fans during the restart. That was a game changer for the rest of the way. Sometimes being a game changer means being comfortable with starting over. That’s what James has done in his career with every team he’s been with.
- Street Cred
Staley grew up on the hard side of town. She was often with her brother and his friends at the playground. She wanted to play but wasn’t sure they’d let her. She brought her own ball, which upped her chances of getting picked. In time, her street cred wasn’t just from having the ball, but from “ballin” on the court.
These days when it comes to sports, it feels like something’s in the water on the West Coast. The Seattle Storm wins the WNBA, the Lakers win the NBA and the NFL Seattle Seahawks are on a hot streak. These players show us that even in tough times, we gotta get up and rise each day to secure the bag.
Tip: Get your hustle on, or at least bring your A-game so that your street cred as a game changer is in using work ethic to inspire team dream.
Talkback: What’s the off-season gonna be like for the players with social issues on their minds?
Tracks: Steel Pulse – Rize – https://youtu.be/m-bVaqDm7Hs
Ace Hood – Hustle Hard – https://youtu.be/r_dh16HQkqQ