How The Game of Basketball Resembles Life.

29 Oct

Brooklyn Jump-shot.

Photo Courtesy: Ayer

I believe that the way a person plays any sport in general determines how they behave in real life situations. Since Basketball has been a major sport in my life, I have chosen to describe how I think the game of Basketball resembles life.

Basketball can be played two ways.

1. One on One.

2. As a Team.

Basketball-One on One.

If you are playing a game of “one on one,” you have no one to pass the ball to. You have to fend for yourself. It’s just you and the opponent. The objective is to prevent your opponent from scoring, score more points then your opponent, and you win the game. Very simple.

How well you are at a game of “one on one” determines how much experience you have playing the game, and also how talented you are.

A game of “one on one ” is similar to people who are employees. It’s a cold cut throat world where you have to physically work very hard to make money in order to survive. Many people are really good at what they do, and don’t like working with a team, and will settle for what their boss needs from them, thus settling for a generally a low paycheck, and highly stressful moments of “Is what I’m doing healthy for me?” The short term effects of being an employee may be content for a while, but pretty soon it will take it’s toll on the individual. “One on one” basketball is not considered a professional sport. In other words you can play “one on one” for only so long. But the real intent of the game was to be played as a team…

Basketball-as a team sport.

Basketball as a team sport, closely resembles life more. How do you act when others are around the court that count on you? Do you like to shoot the ball and take over the game? Do you like to pass and create shots for others? Or perhaps you like to play defense, rebound and prevent opponents from scoring. Or maybe you are just happy to be a part of a team and wear a fancy jersey and slack off because being on the team was already good enough? Whatever your role is, I think it is important to play your role within the team. This is how Successful Entrepreneurs operate.

The successful entrepreneur understands and is honest with what he/she brings to the table, and also recognizes what others bring to the table. This is why the entrepreneur is usually higher paid than an employee, because they have learned that doing something individually can only guarantee a certain level of success, the entrepreneur knows he/she can’t do it all alone.

One person can’t do it all themselves. A prime example for me (using the basketball analogy) is that I like to shoot a lot and score baskets. I know I can score, and I will continue to score. This is my strong point. If you played me one on one the odds of me whipping you really bad are high. However, I’ve come to realize that in life you can’t do it all alone, no matter how good you think you are. If I kept trying to score, pretty soon the opponents will double/triple team me, I need to look for others that are open and create a scoring opportunity for them.

I am in the process of learning to trust that others can do their part. It has been a challenge for me personally, and I am in the process of growing from this experience.

When I fully reach that level of knowing when to pass and create shots for the open man, I know that the process will be much smoother. Working in a team situation will allow me to look for others and trust my teammates.

The 5 Positions That Make Up A Team In Basketball

1. The point gaurd. Usually the leader because he dictates the flow of the game. Also the leader because he has court vison. He creates opportunities for the other teammates. He is quick and and calls out the plays. He is the shot caller. Major responsibility is that he pretty much dictates the flow of the game. Must be unselfish, and make smart and accurate decisions. The ability to read his teammates strengths and weakness is key. Think Magic Johnson.

2. The Shooting Gaurd- Usually the number one scorer on the team, needs to think shoot first, primary scorer. Must be selfish when the time calls for it. Has to be okay with the attention that he gets from media, and represent the team in a proper manner vocally. Major responsibility: from the (fans/crowd/media perspective) can be the person that gets singled out/praised or blamed for winning or loosing a game, also has to be careful that ego doesn’t get in the way of the teams overall performance. Think Kobe Bryant.

3. The Small Forward- This is the middle man. He has to play solid defense and know that he is not the top scorer, but needs to get rebounds and look for the open man. He has to be okay that he doesn’t get much shine and does a lot of the dirty work. Must flow well with the identity of team. It is critical that the shooting guard and small forward are on the same page. Think Scottie Pippen (in relation to Michael Jordan).

4. The Power Forward- This person needs to defend, rebound and block shots. He is the guy that needs to ward off the haters. Can score as well, but not as much as the shooting guard, must do the dirty work and be content in that role. It’s important that the power forward feel special, because he does a lot of the work that doesn’t get recognized on ESPN, but plays a major role in the overall team’s success. Think Karl Malone.

5. The Center- This person is the biggest guy on the court. The center commands respect. He is grounded and is the last line of defense. He blocks shots and grabs rebounds. He must be tough and present himself as a strong and bold. Can also be the top scorer depending on the makeup of team. He needs to know that he may or may not get much recognition, and must be content with being the solid intimidating factor holding it down for the team. Think Shaquille O’neal.

The objective of the game is to win. Or is it?

Are we in this for the experience of simply playing a game? Or are we just in it as a means to an end (win)?

The experience of playing is amazing, and playing in the moment is wonderful, but a win at this stage in my life would rank up high in the scorecards. I think this will definitely change in the future, but I’m working on earning my “stripes” first. I can’t claim to be a great team mate if my production isn’t up to par. Being honest with my strengths will make the team I work with that much more enjoyable and successful. I am still learning to trust teammates to be honest with their strengths and weaknesses. The more I trust, I intend the more they trust me.

The game of basketball resembles life.

Who’s on your team?

+Baker

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One Response to “How The Game of Basketball Resembles Life.”

  1. Rich November 8, 2008 at 2:41 am #

    Great post! I can definitely relate to the point guard analogy.

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