Pattern your game off of similar players.
by Kevin Owens /@Waiting4Godunk
Sometimes I wish I never grew up in Philadelphia. Now don’t get me wrong, I love the city, I love the sports. I love the atmosphere, the grit and the tough Philadelphia attitude. The city, in my opinion, is the greatest in the world.
The reason I now pine for a different youth locale, is because of Larry Bird. Growing up I was bred to hate the Celtics and all their striped socked glory. Bird, Kevin McHale, Robert Parish, were all my sworn enemies. I was encouraged to idolize strong, athletic guys like Charles Barkley, Darryl Dawkins and Dr. J. Unfortunately I grew up to be neither strong nor overly athletic.
My body was not like that of my Philadelphia idols, unless you include Mike Gminski. I grew into a tall, slightly awkward white guy with a tough hardnosed attitude. But I quickly realized that nobody takes a 185-pound, 7-footer serious when he tries to be a “tough guy.”
Had I grown up outside of Philadelphia, I could have modeled my game after players like Larry Bird and Kevin McHale. I could have been working on my three-ball as opposed to my rebounding. My up and under as opposed to trying to cup the ball and dunk on a 7-foot rim.
That is the problem with idolizing an athlete you have nothing in common with. You end up forming bad habits. I had that problem in my youth, patterning my game after guys like Rick Mahorn. Not that half of the duo “Thump and Bump” was a bad player, it’s just he wasn’t known for his offense.
The same concepts still hold true today. As a basketball trainer, I see kids developing bad habits by patterning their game after the wrong player. I have 7-1 high school kids who want to play strictly on the perimeter, and 5-9 high school kids who only want to play in the post. Kids who can’t make a layup, trying to shoot 25 footers like Jimmer Fredette, and others who can’t walk and chew gum trying to be point guards.
It is all about finding a player with a similar mold and emulating their style. Had I modeled my game after someone more comparable to my body type like Larry Bird, my career may have been drastically different. I would have spent more time on my jump shot and offensive skills. I could have made the NBA, and currently be sitting in my mansion right now debating whether or not I should go steal an imports job overseas.
Instead I am retired, looking for work in one of the worst economic markets in history.
When I began searching for a job I decided to rank my occupational goals. I would try for a job in the first field, then the second and so on. They were as follows…
1. Basketball (Coaching/Scouting)
2. Basketball Media (Analyzing/Hosting/Talk Radio/Announcing/Writing)
3. Sports Media (Writing/Hosting/Talk Radio)
4. Media (Writing/Hosting/Talk Radio)
5. Teaching (Umm…Teaching)
6. Communications (Public Relations/Marketing)
7. Sales (Selling Goods and Services)
8. Motivational Speaker (What?)
9. Farmer (Farming Crops/Raising Cattle)
10. Deck Hand on Time Bandit (Reality TV Star)
11. Any Other Office Job
So far I have exhausted every contact I know in the first category and have started on the second. Obviously if a good job comes along in any of the categories—which could have a high-earning potential—I will jump on board, but for now I am continuing to chase my dreams.
As we approach the “Hiring Month” of September, I can only continue sending out resumes and cross my fingers. If it was meant to be it is meant to be. In the mean time I will be packing a bag for Alaska.