Many basketball fans have declared Kawhi Leonard, who led the Toronto Raptors to a championship this past June, as the Current Best NBA Player.
I put a video on YouTube the other day stating my claim that LeBron James is still The Best.
Some agree. Some don’t. Such is a basketball conversation.
My main point in that video: to be the best, not only must you win and be the Main Guy on your team— you have to dominate consistently.
Not just in the “important” Playoff games either.
You dominate the “meaningless” games of the regular season too. These are the games for which ticket sales and TV contracts make up 100% of the salaries that NBA players earn (Playoff games are, contractually, bonus money).
When you’re The Best, nothing is meaningless.
To dominate, you have to show up all the time and make your presence felt.
Kawhi went through last season on a plan of what has been deemed “load management,” which can be summarized as a player sitting out selected regular season games to lessen the wear and tear on his body that comes from, you know, playing basketball.
Load management is a great idea.
Shit, I think everyone with a job or business would love to sit out random days of work while still being paid for a full day’s effort.
I would do it!
The fact for most of us — even for pro athletes, like Kawhi’s teammates, and 99% of their NBA counterparts— is that we can’t sit out (and many wouldn’t want to; playing basketball is a fun job).
We HAVE to be at work, because that’s the job we’re paid for.
But this is not about the moral obligation of doing the job you’re being paid for. This is about being The Best.
To be The Best at what you do, it’s simple: while facing the same circumstances and challenges as everyone else, you out-perform them.
Whoever does that is The Best.
By this definition, Kawhi doesn’t qualify for the discussion: he’s sitting out games that his opponents are playing in.
You can’t dominate when you’re not playing.
99% of the NBA has to practice and play every day, even when fatigued. Kawhi took those days as rest time to manage his workload.
This is a great formula for winning a championship: your best player is more rested than everyone else’s best players.
But it’s a bad plan for being The Best, because you’re doing less work than everyone else.
(It’s also a bad plan for the NBA business as a whole: if every star player sat out 20+ games per season, as Kawhi did, ticket sales and television contracts would be less lucrative as fewer fans would show up and/or tune in — which means less money for the league — which means less money for both owners AND players.)
This is not a diss of Kawhi Leonard. I don’t think Kawhi himself has ever discussed having the Best Player title; I don’t think he even cares (I could be wrong). I think the championship is the only thing he wants.
I know that fans like talking about this stuff though. I wrote this for the fans.
Here’s my bottom line: if you’re The Best at what you do, you don’t pick and choose when to be The Best. Every chance you get to prove that you’re That Guy/Girl, you show it.
Hell, you’re LOOKING for chances to show it.
This is one of the key points of my book The Mirror Of Motivation, which you can get a physical copy of for FREE while supplies last.