What the NBA Playoffs Can Teach Us About Life

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Come NBA Playoffs time, the routines of basketball fans around the world experience a massive shift. Some even change their schedules to make sure they catch their team’s games live. It gets even worse when the Finals begin.

Arguably, this year’s Playoffs has been one of the most interesting in recent times, and even if you are not a basketball fan, there are some things you can learn from the game, the team leaders, and the sportsmanship of the players.

With the season being over, let’s take a look at some life lessons the NBA Playoffs can teach us.

NBA Playoffs Life Lessons

nba playoffs life lessons
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Just because you’ve been very successful in the past doesn’t guarantee success in the future.

This is personal for me, as the first team that comes to mind are the San Antonio Spurs. One of the most respected teams in the league – if not the most respected – but without the bells and whistles. They just play, and they have had their share of successes.

They’ve had several championships under their belt, and they did well during this season. But they were knocked out in the first round. They were an excellent team. They played hard, but they weren’t able to replicate their past success.

Lesson: Cliche, but don’t rest on your laurels. Every battle/challenge you face is a new one. Treat it as such.

Don’t let your detractors get to you.

LeBron James is one of the best players of this generation, no doubt. But he has more than his fair share of critics because of his cockiness. (He is the self-proclaimed best player in the world.) Still, he has shown his detractors wrong. He does the job – and then some.

nba playoffs life lessons
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Tim Duncan is called “Old Man River Walk” fondly by fans, but so many people have said – so many times – that he is too old for the game. While that may very well be true, but he has shown countless times that he doesn’t let his age get in the way. There were many instances when commentators – and viewers – were amazed at how the “old guy” made the difference in a game.

Lesson: Haters gonna hate, as they say. But you know who you are and what you can do. Focus on the latter.

Hustling gets you a long way.

Too many players may not be the “best player in the world”, but they have their shining moments. Why? They get out there and hustle. They never stop working. They go after the ball like their lives depended on it. They defend like there is no tomorrow. Sometimes it doesn’t pay, but often, it all adds up and can make or break the game.

Lesson: You don’t have to be the best to be successful. There will always be someone better, but if you hunker down, do what you’re supposed to do, and go the extra mile, you’ll reap the benefits in the long run.

Listen to the people who surround you, and be open to their suggestions.

I cannot forget what Golden State Warriors player Draymond Green said about his coach Steve Kerr recently before they won the championship.

“Coach Kerr always tells us, ‘I listen to anybody — video guy, video intern.’” Draymond Green said. “Those guys watch a ton of film. You know, sometimes they may even watch more film than coach does, they’re the ones breaking it all down. So it just says a lot about Coach Kerr’s character that he would listen and get it worked out.”

He may be the top guy, but he knows when to listen and when to make adjustments. Look where it got them.

Lesson: Keep an open mind. Your perspective may be limited, and there may be other options that are better, or at least worth trying.

You might also like: The Roger Federer Guide to Becoming Great at What You Do

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