• I was fired. One year ago today. From my alma mater. On my birthday. 
  • I wanted to see basketball through a different lens and I wanted to be in a learning environment that would push my limits of comfort and familiarity. I needed to branch out and the NBA offered a space where very talented and intelligent groups of people devote a majority of their time to just basketball.
Here are my favorite big ideas from the BIG IDEA:
  1. Fundamentals are fundamentals. With all of the advanced analytics and money spent on sports science teams, spending deliberate time cultivating the basic skills of the game were emphasized everywhere. The best of the best in the NBA talk daily about being better passers, movement without the ball, and purposeful help side defense. So, keep doing that y’all!
  2. Team issues and adversity exist everywhere. There are continuing efforts at all levels to build skills to promote better life choices, communication, chemistry, and consistency. So (and I’ll remind myself of this when I find myself coaching again) stop whining about what’s wrong with your team. Instead, improve your ability to teach and promote the skills your team needs to be a better unit. Teach unselfishness, teach compassion. Model empathy. You will be better if you do.
  3. After twelve years as a head coach,it was so beneficial to attend practices and meetings just to observe, just to listen, take notes and ask impactful questions. We are often so busy generating solutions, finding the right motivational words, getting the top 25 recruits on campus, or honing perfect strategy for our teams that we don’t take enough time to be still and listen. I know I will be a better listener moving forward. It’s a skill that requires deliberate attention. I also hope to be better at choosing the right questions to ask which is the perfect complimentary action to fine- tuned listening.
  4. There is no other form of influence more powerful than authentic leadership. I witnessed this at every stop in my journey. Coaches exhibiting high levels of self-awareness get the most out of themselves and those who surround them. Knowing yourself is about knowing your story so spend some time with yourself: self- evaluate (measure your methods) and self-reflect (measure your motivations).
  5. Choose a group of people that you openly trust as collaborators and workers. I loved the spirit of partnership in the NBA. Monocratic leadership is outdated. Engaging players without compromising discipline is the model of the future. You may think that you don’t have the connections to do what I’ve just described. I felt exactly the same way until I started sending emails to strangers and asking friends for help. I had to do what I’d been asking athletes to do for years…get outside of my comfort zone. Our desire for connection and spirit of learning really are powerful. Put yours to work.