Thunder and Lightening

July 19th, 2012

Winners’ Wisdom: By Jim Stovall

Recently, people around the world enjoyed the NBA championship series.  This is a seven game playoff between the two best basketball teams in the world to determine the eventual champion.

While NBA basketball may be predominantly thought of as an American pursuit, I talked with people, literally around the world, who were following this year’s NBA championship with great enthusiasm.  The NBA playoffs were particularly meaningful to me this year because I live in Oklahoma.  Oklahoma had never enjoyed having a professional team in a major media sport until the Oklahoma City Thunder emerged several years ago.

It has been amazing to observe the lightening reaction by people to this young basketball team.  While the Oklahoma City Thunder eventually fell victim to the skill and experience of the Miami Heat, I’m convinced that everybody who observed the championship competition came out a winner.

The skill, expertise, and athleticism of professional sports are hard to comprehend at first glance.  Since all the players are great, it’s hard to understand the level of expertise they truly exhibit.  In much the same way, it’s hard to understand how tall professional basketball players truly are until you stand next to one of them.  Seven-foot basketball players competing against one another seem normal until you confront them face-to-face.

Skeptics might wonder what all the fuss is about, but beyond the fun and exhilaration of getting caught up in competitive games, there are many lessons to be learned that carry far beyond the basketball court.

My late, great friend and mentor, John Wooden—arguably the best coach ever—liked to consider himself a teacher more than a coach.  Coach Wooden felt that the basketball court was a marvelous classroom because success and failure are readily apparent.  Coach Wooden taught his players great basketball lessons such as:  Be quick but don’t hurry; Don’t go to where the play is—go to where the play is going to be; and You’re not responsible for winning or losing but simply giving your best effort and being better today than you were yesterday.

While it’s obvious how these lessons could benefit someone on the basketball court, these treasures of wisdom can benefit you and me in our daily pursuits.

I was reminded of Coach Wooden while I followed the Oklahoma City Thunder basketball team this year.  The passion, persistence, and precision demonstrated on the court gave me many evenings of entertainment and still provide me with many days of productivity.

As you go through your day today, observe and emulate the champions in every walk of life.

Today’s the day!

Jim Stovall is the president of Narrative Television Network, as well as a published author of many books including The Ultimate Gift. He is also a columnist and motivational speaker. He may be reached at 5840 South Memorial Drive, Suite 312, Tulsa, OK 74145-9082; by email at Jim@JimStovall.com; or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/jimstovallauthor.