We took a couple of your questions and posed them to Idan Ravin, a.k.a. The Hoops Whisperer, for his first column in SLAM 142. Below, are the answers from the man who’s trained LeBron, Carmelo, CP3, KD and many more elite NBA players. Enjoy!
Q: Sometimes I have problems staying focused, motivated and disciplined when I practice for long periods of time. How do people like Kobe Bryant keep focused eight hours a day? Could you break down what it is that keeps them going and how they do it?—JWoll324
IR: When I design workouts for NBA players, I keep a few things in mind, in particular their hectic schedules and how they process information. Some may learn visually, some by doing, some listening, etc. Meanwhile, their in-season and off-season calendars are filled with more responsibilities than you could ever imagine. Melo, CP, Bron, Amar’e, KD and Gil, just to name a few, are not only brilliant basketball players, but also brilliant at managing their business and personal responsibilities. So our on-court workouts emphasize efficiency, intensity and focus. I advocate short and intense. This creates an optimum environment for the players to remain focused.
With respect to Kobe, there’s a reason he’s one of the best players in the world. Aside from his amazing physical gifts, he possesses an unrelenting drive, commitment, passion, resilience, toughness and ferocious desire to be the best. He has money, rings and countless NBA All-Star Game appearances, yet he approaches each day as if it was his first and could be his last. Without passion, love, focus and commitment, even the most talented become common. The next time you see Kobe on television, don’t just watch him, learn from him.
Q: It seems today’s star player wants to be seen as something other than what they are renowned for. For example, last summer we were “treated” to Ron Artest the rapper in China. Chris Bosh wants to be known for his video production and acting potential. While I can appreciate a player wanting to promote himself in some other field with arguably greater longevity, doesn’t this create confusion amongst his fan base, dilute his brand, appear too self-serving and distract him from reaching his full basketball potential?—Mike
IR: While basketball does “butter the bread” of NBA players, I applaud these guys for having multiple interests outside basketball. NBA players are CEOs in charge of their own companies, and like a company chairman, they are responsible for leveraging opportunities, developing businesses, connecting with the community and generating revenue. NBA players are in a unique position to forge relationships outside the basketball world by virtue of their fame and status. Also, their NBA fame can give them access to deal flow that is usually available only to high net worth businessmen.
I encourage NBA players to follow the lead taken by Magic Johnson. He leveraged his immense basketball success and his amazing business savvy to create an empire that would eventually provide for his family many times over, as well as create jobs in communities across the US. It would be a shame to not take advantage of these opportunities during an NBA career. When they pursue ventures and interests they enjoy, they also will find happiness and reward in their journey. By doing so they empower communities and create multiple revenue streams that will provide for them and their families once their playing career ends.