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James Harden, Sacrifice and Leadership

Once the dust settled I became a little more okay with the James Harden trade from my Oklahoma City Thunder to the Houston Rockets. I basically had to settle on, “It is, what it is!” The trade created lots of great discussions for the City Of Oklahoma City, The Thunder, The NBA, Value and Leadership.

There were some one one side of the spectrum that thought Harden should have just conceded and took the deal that the Thunder offered ($53 million over 4 years). Harden and the Thunder were off about 1.25 million per year.  There were others on the other end of the spectrum that thought the Thunder should have just ponied up and gave Harden what he was asking for. You only get a few opportunities to make a run at an NBA Championship and Harden is the most popular visible figure on the Thunder roster second to Kevin Durant. Conclusion – The Thunder gave Harden hour to make a decision and the end result was a trade of Harden to the Houston Rockets.

Often times when it comes to leadership, roles, contributions and value organizations and leaders like to play the sacrifice card. Harden should sacrifice to be a part of a winning team. Harden should sacrifice, it’s just a few million dollars. Harden should sacrifice, look what Ginoboli did for the Spurs. Harden should sacrifice, he’s not even a starter. “You have to sacrifice, we sacrifice, sacrifice, sacrifice, sacrifice.” I’ve seen it in every type of organization that you can imagine.

Speaking of sacrifice, Harden kicked off his Debut with the Rockets last night and he went “Beast Mode” as the young folks say. With only two practices under his belt, The Bearded One dropped 37 points, 12 assists, six rebounds, four steals, and a block. Harden is only the 4th player in NBA history to do so. You might ask, “Who are the other 3?” Michael Jordan, Larry Bird, and Dwyane Wade… that’s some pretty good company in your debut as a starter.

When it comes to sacrifice, maybe the real sacrifice was James Harden gracefully coming in off the bench and contributing everything he had as the 6th man for the Thunder. Maybe the real sacrifice was Harden taking the 3rd role seat when clearly he’s a first role player. Maybe sacrifice was playing Robin’s little brother, when clearly he’s a Batman. Maybe sacrifice was playing for less money, when he clearly could have gotten more.

Check out the highlights from Harden’s debut game last night… they are very telling. James Harden is not only a Super Star; he’s a Super Star that makes his teammates better. Oh and Harden’s deal with the Houston Rockets $80 million over 5 year$. When you watch the highlight video, you will hear the announcers keep screaming that $80 million dollars is a value.

I agree, $80 million is a value and I believe we have to be careful when we throw around the word sacrifice because it’s really difficult to know what those around us are sacrificing and it’s also hard to truly assess someone’s value, worth, contribution and sacrifice to your organization and your team.

James Harden, Sacrifice and Leadership.

Watch the video below and share your thoughts on this post and Harden’s debut.


The Luck Stops Here!

About a year and a half ago I spoke at South Bend Church, led by my good friend pastor @EdgarCabello. My wife and I had the opportunity to tour the Notre Dame Campus. The Basketball Gym, locker room and campus were quite impressive — The football stadium not so much.

I was able to slap the famous “Play Like A Campion Today” sign. The Irish have been playing like champions and roll into Norman Oklahoma with a perfect 7-0 record. That’s right lucky #7. ESPN’s Game Day will be in town and this is the biggest most tradition rich regular season games in a long time. Well I’m sorry, there is no Play Like A Champion sign to hit and “The Luck Stops Here!”

My prediction, the Sooners beat Notre Dame by more than 2 touchdowns.

Hat tip to my man @NickHoss for inspiration for the title of this post.

What do you think the outcome of the #OU vs. Notre Dame will be?

Jayden’s Highlights From Today’s Football Game

Here are some of Jayden’s Highlights from his football game today. His team “Bearcats” won 6-0 in a defensive battle. They move to 2-0 on the season and are playing well as a team.

(Below) – Jayden Makes A Nice Defensive Play In The Backfield

(Below) – Jayden’s Run Breaking Some Tackles

(Below) – Jayden’s Run Breaking Tackles and The Spin Move

(Below) – Jayden’s Touchdown Only TD of the day.

Great game, Great Win! Love watching my boys compete with a Good Attitude and Good Effort.

Did you watch in little league or college football today? Share highlights and outcomes.

3 Of Jayden’s Runs From Today’s Football Game

Below are three of Jayden’s runs from today’s football game. They won 41-0. I like to see him breaking tackles, cutting back, changing hands with the ball and stiff arming folks.

10 Lessons From Nick Saban’s Rant and Chastising Of Media

Alabama Coach Nick Saban Chastises Media after their crazy positive coverage of the Crimson Tide’s win and not giving proper credit to their next opponent Western Kentucky. Not only is this video frank and funny, there are some major life, competition and leadership nuggets in this 5 min clip. As much as I try to dislike Nick Saban, there is a reason this guy wins… He’s a great leader and he “gets it.” Not only does this video send a message to the media, it sends a strong message to every coach, player, manager… every person involved with the Crimson Tide Program.

  • You must demonstrate balance between humility and confidence
  • It’s a struggle every day, earn it every day
  • You must have character, confidence metal toughness driven to be the best
  • It’s not fair to not give opponent proper credit
  • Presumptions are upsetting and unhealthy
  • Do some research and figure it out
  • We play the games for a reason
  • Predictions take away from the game “Why do we play the games?”
  • As a leader, it’s my responsibility, nobody else’s but mine
  • Nothing Happens By Accident – Everything good or bad we see in the game, we see in practice.
What do you think? Share your thoughts on this rant and these lessons. 

OSU football coach Mike Gundy had a similar rant about the media a few years back… “I’m a man, I’m 40” the video has nearly 3 million views and counting.

Wesley Runs For A 46 Yard Touchdown

Wesley’s 8th grade football team had their 1st game of the season tonight. He had a great game and his team won 30-0. Really good group of kids. Again, I apologize for my bad recording… I’m not very good. 🙂

Jayden Breaks a Tackle and Cuts Up Field For TD

My 9yo son Jayden broke a tackle and cut up field for a touchdown. My apologies for the poor recording, I’m horrible at recording. 🙂

I really look forward to football season. Little League, Middle School, High School, College and NFL. Let’s Go!

Are you looking forward to football season?

Find Your Greatness

Is greatness reserved for a chosen few?

What stands out to you in this video? Any subliminal messages? Anything in particular that caught your eye, inspired you or touched your heart?

ht: @addisongardner

The #ThunderMiracle Is On

The “Miracle on Ice” is the name in American popular culture for a medal-round men’s ice hockey game during the 1980 Winter Olympics. The United States team, made up of amateur and collegiate players defeated the Soviet team, who had won nearly every world championship and Olympic tournament since 1954.

Team USA went on to win the gold medal by winning its last match over Finland. The Soviet Union took the silver medal by beating Sweden in its final game.

Right now the #OKC Thunder are down 3-1 in the NBA Finals. No team has ever rallied from a 3-1 deficit in the NBA Finals and go on to win the championship. In other words the #OKC Thunder are done unless of course a miracle happens. I’m not believing for a Miracle on Ice but rather a Miracle on The Hardwood. In faith I’m calling that miracle #ThunderMiracle.

I know some people think I’m crazy for not thinking the pleasantly-plum lady hasn’t already began singing her song… call me crazy. I understand that it would be much easier to write this post and believe in the #ThunderMiracle once this young resilient team wins game 5 tonight. There is something special about this young team that’s worth believeing in and something worth throwing the odds and the trends out the window. Just a series ago, the odds and history said the #Thunder couldn’t comeback from a 2-0 deficit and win the next 4 straight against the Spurs and they did just that.

The leader of the #Thunder Kevin Durant responded this way in an AP article…

“We didn’t get here just to make it here and say we made it to the finals. We want to come in here and we want to try to get a title. It’s all about, keep competing until that last buzzer sounds and that’s what we’re going to do. That’s the type of city we play for, a city that never gives up. That’s the type of team we are.”

These young men who have fought hard the last 3 games, have come up on the short end of close games that have been decided by a couple of possessions.  They will continue to fight, continue to compete and try to win until that last buzzer on June 26th.

I say the #ThunderMiracle is on… Believe with me and maybe we will be reading headlines in about a week from now that read something like this: #ThunderMiracle – OKC Thunder Does What No Team Has Ever Done Before.


Share your thoughts. Feel free to tweet about the #ThunderMiracle before it happens. It’s called faith!

Leadership Lessons From LeBron James and Kevin Durant

If we are willing to look, we can find Leadership Lessons all around us. Since we are smack dab in the middle of the NBA Finals, I thought I’d share a couple of Leadership Lessons from the key Superstars in the 2012 NBA. (They just happen to be the 2 best players in the NBA) The Best in the East and 3-Time MVP LeBron James and The Best In The West and 3-Time Scoring Champ Kevin Durant.

Let’s jump right into these Leadership Lessons:

2 Leadership Lessons From LeBron James

  • 1. Be Slow To Speak – This actually means be slow to speak, react and do. Some of the LeBron’s most memorable moments have not actually been on the court but a combination of him “taking his talents to South Beach” media frenzy coupled with the “not 1, not 2, not 3… spirit fingers” referring to the number of championships they were going to win. Those number have yet to be achieved although they are on a crash course with the #Thunder trying to get number one. Those moments and memories have created leadership perception vs reality challenges for King James. Be slow to speak, slow to act and slow to react.
  • 2. Mature From Your Mistakes – One thing that’s evident about LeBron is the fact that he is growing and maturing as a Leader on and off the court. His post game interviews demonstrate maturity. He’s not over-reacting to the highs or lows of criticism, failure and success. LeBron is maturing through his earlier mistakes and what could be deemed as immaturity of a kid coming out of high school to the NBA whose skills actually lived up to the hype. Maturity is an on-going process, remain open to the process.

2 Leadership Lessons From Kevin Durant

  • 1. Don’t Let Others Dictate Your Level Of Success – Kevin Durant was actually picked as the 2nd pick overall in the 2007 NBA draft. The experts felt that Greg Oden was going to be a better player in the NBA… Portland how is that working out for you? Some of the criticism leading up to the draft was the fact that Durant couldn’t bench press very much weight. I love what TNT NBA Analyst Charles Barkley said about that during the Western Conference Finals; “For all of those people that were worrying about how much weight Kevin Durant can bench press… that’s just silly. He doesn’t need to bench press 100 pounds the basketball doesn’t weigh that much.” Don’t let what you supervisor, the naysayers, the experts… dictate your level of success.
  • 2. Don’t Play The Blame Game – Excuses and the blame game are major leadership pitfalls. So many leaders want to blame mistakes, failures and losses on everyone else instead of looking in the mirror. It’s much easier to throw someone under the bus than it is to accept the fact that you’re the bus driver. During the NBA Finals there have been lots of questionable calls and no-calls. It’s been talked about by the experts over and over and during game 2 of the finals the no-call foul that LeBron James committed on Kevin Durant potentially made an impact on the outcome of the game. Durant’s response in post game interviews were simply, “I missed the shot… period.” After Game 3, Durantuala responded to questions of the poor officiating by saying, “The officials are human, they are going to get some calls right and they are going to miss some calls… Bottom line is I need to get better. We need to learn from this and come out better the next game.” Don’t play the blame game, look in the mirror and take responsibility. Not only will it make you better but it will make those around you better.

Share your thoughts on these Leadership Lessons from LeBron James and Kevin Durant. What other leadership lessons have you seen from these two or other high profile athletes?

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