Monday, November 1, 2010

Fitness and Business

I just figured that I would begin November with some thoughts that I've had over the past few days about different aspects of the NBA that I didn't really think about that much before.

So this past week I was bored and decided that I would go lane swimming for the first time in over 3 years. I spent about 40 minutes in the pool and swam 70 lengths (just over 1.5 km for those of you keeping track). I felt good, but was pretty tired, owing to the fact that I now suck at swimming! However, as all of us who don't exercise all that often know, when you go from no exercise to any kind of exercise, you generally pay with a whole lot of soreness. The next morning I had trouble getting out of bed, as my arms, legs, shoulders, and even lower back hurt like the dickens (which hurt quite bad). I've been a couple of more times, and each time I generally feel like spending the rest of the day sprawled out in my bed recovering.

During this I thought of all the work NBA players put into staying in shape and realized how incredible it really is, especially for the guys playing big minutes every game. On top of the 25-40 minutes they play in the most competitive and physical basketball games each night, they also spend the days working out, running drills, lifting weights and taking countless numbers of shots. I have no idea how some of those guys are even standing at the end of it all. Now add on top of that those guys who are having troubles with injuries and yet continue to play. I hate Kobe Bryant, but I think I've found some more respect for him after playing through the entire 2009-10 season with multiple injuries. Then their's Yao Ming, who has had serious injuries that could affect the rest of his life, and yet continues to come back and fight through it.

I guess I've never really given that much thought to how amazing many of the NBA players are, and especially the top players. I always just thought they got up and played basketball games, but I'm beginning to realize just how much more there is to it. Ray Allen is an amazing shooter, and yet he continues to work on his shot. From what I've heard he comes in hours before every game to just shoot. I guess what I'm just trying to say is that I have a lot more respect for the physical side of the game.

That leads me into the other aspect of this article. As I'm nearing the end of my schooling, I'm starting to feel more and more stress in regards to finding a full time career type job. It's kinda scarry going out into the work world without any direct job to just flow into. It's making me realize that the NBA, along with being the place for super in-shape athletes, is also a huge business. I used to always think that when a coach got fired (which happens a lot) that he would just automatically move on to another team who would be welcoming him with open arms. I'm pretty sure that's not the case. It's also not the case for the players who aren't the superstars, and who have to work for new contracts every few years. The case of guys like Darius Miles is kind of a scarry one. He was one of the leading players on a somewhat hyped young Clippers team, and is now a perennial roster cut in the preseason. What happened? Now, that may be a bad example, as I'm sure Miles is a dink or something like that, but there really isn't that great job security in the NBA, unless your name is LeBron James or Kobe Bryant.

I know that guys like Bill Simmons has a huge problem with players playing for their contracts, but I'm starting to not be so critical of them. I am also starting to understand why a guy who had played a role on championship teams whole accept a contract with a team like the Clippers or the Nets. For a lot of guys, it's really about the money. Winning a championship would probably be nice, but when it comes down to it, how many guys can turn down contracts worth millions of dollars, just to try to win a giant gold ring that they'll probably never wear? Now before you start arguing with me, just think about your own job, and how much you work at it. Are you always trying to be the best, or do you sometimes accept positions because they'd be easy and pay well? If I had the option to take a job doing something I loved for lots of money but with no chance of glory, I'd probably take it! I'm not sure if my examples make sense (I went swimming earlier and the craving to shut my brain off is kicking in!), but you'll just have to deal with it, as they make sense to me.

What is the point of all this? I'm not sure. I guess it's just a place where I can express some of the ideas that I've been thinking about, and since not much has happened in the early season, you'll just have to deal with my sometimes random thought process.

1 comment:

  1. I agree with the fitness aspect. It's for that reason that I don't actually hate Kobe as much as I used to. Don't get me wrong, I still think he's a dick, but his work ethic is admirable. I guess Jordan's was too. I think that's how they're both the most similar - they were both overly competitive dick heads. You kind of have to be a dick head to be that successful. If they weren't that competitive and willing to do whatever it takes to win, they probably wouldn't win much. It's hard to maintain that drive. I hate the guys who have (/had) it, but it's frustrating when players don't have it. Vince Carter is the best example. For him it seems like it comes and goes. Actually, it probably doesn't come much anymore. I think he was so blessed athletically that he didn't have the drive. Or he had it for a while and it fizzled out. And it was disappointing.
    So yeah, you gotta admire the guys who work the hardest. You can admire them on the court, but it's hard to like them otherwise.