Life After Pro Sports: Athletes on Commitments versus Goals

My phone was vibrating as the electricity shocked me. I dropped the neon green Ryobi power drill on the floor with a loud thud. I hadn’t mastered this yet, I thought. Add another one to the list.

0e954424b676bbf2d2e1a18d40d85755Thankfully, my friend Charlie was calling, interrupting me from the flow of 110 volts of electricity flowing through my body. 

“Charlie!” I answered, shaking my free hand.

“Hey Huff, are you gonna be late to our workout today or what?”

“Yeah, so what if I am?” I retorted sarcastically. “What do you want? I’m trying to work here!”

“No seriously, you gonna be late or not?”

(I am blushing as I write this).

I paused before answering. I had a list of excuses and reasons for being late already rolling through my head… I  have to drive 40 minutes to get to the gym… and I have to make sure I’m done getting all the new wall outlet covers on… and lastly, now that I’m not a pro basketball player, who cares if I work out.

Well, besides Charlie that is.

But my excuses weighed on my conscious. I knew that traitorous voice as a pro basketball player. It’s that internal voice spouting off every reason to procrastinate and giving you every excuse to not stay committed. Every athlete hears what the War of Art  author Stephen Pressfield calls RESISTANCE. This foot-dragging voice fears becoming the highest version of itself. It manipulates you. It cheats you. It dupes you into believing it is actually you making the decision to delay commitment, discipline, and your goals from happening.

“Well, Charlie, that’s a good question– a fair question. My being tardy isn’t something I have put a lot of thought into lately. Plus, since I give you all my workout knowledge for free and that’s priceless… I can be a little late right?” I joked.

“Yeah, about that,” he chuckled. “Can you be on time today? I have a family, a schedule to stick too. Can you make a commitment to be there and ready to go at 5:00 p.m?”

Fall 2016: Trevor Huffman Traverse City Basketball Training-Camps-Workouts

In the Life and Minds of Pro Athletes

I heard it in his voice this time. He meant business. Charlie was a close friend of mine, a financial advisor that had just become a father for the first time, and I knew driving 40 minutes to work out with him wasn’t a valid excuse for my tardiness. 

Instantly, his question got me thinking about goals versus commitments and how it related to my life before and after basketball.  I knew too many people that couldn’t transfer commitment to their lives and got stuck in their own self-made hamster wheels.

I didn’t want RESISTANCE to win. I didn’t want to look back a year from now and regret not committing to something that I knew was good for me. I didn’t want the internal traitor to spread into other areas of my life.

Another dream gone.

Another goal missed.

“I know, you are right Charlie. I was never late to practices or my own commitments with basketball, why am I late to our workouts now?”

I paused and thought about my current workout goals.

I had none. At least no concrete ones that I had written down on paper.

“Well, it is a long drive,” I said. “And I am doing things for work that sometimes push me back. Errands. Workers. Getting electrocuted, you know, the perfect day–“

“So what! Can’t you just drop it? Can’t you just make a commitment to the workouts and not be late?”

I waited before I answered. I knew this conversation wasn’t like most of our conversations.

“Yes.” I said, pausing. “I can commit to that.”

As I said it, I knew I was in trouble. Not because I couldn’t do it, but because I knew the difference between committing to something and just saying, “my goal is…”

Goals aren’t enough.


Committing to something is serious to me. Plus, I was busy with my new life after basketball. Trying to become a businessman. Trying to sail the Caribbean. Learning to write. Building an inspirational website. Taking Spanish classes. Training other friends. Teaching and running my basketball academies.

I thought back to my youth. I had written down Titanic-sized goals, but my commitments were even bigger. My commitments to basketball and training were probably viewed as insane to people on the outside looking in, but not sticking to my commitment to touch a basketball twice a day felt like I was deserting my team when they needed me most.

And who cared really cared if I didn’t touch a basketball twice day, every day?

No one but me. And I cared more than anything.

Touching that basketball was my daily commitment to help me reach my goals of being a freshman on varsity, to becoming First-Team All-State, to playing Division One basketball in college, and eventually becoming an NBA or European professional player.

I knew beating the RESISTANCE inside me took:


Rain or shine. Hurt or healthy. Sad or mad. Traveling or at home, I touched that ball.

But now what? What happens after careers end or new transitions begin? How do you wield the power of personal commitment in your daily life?

For example, you could say, “I want to be a millionaire.”

Well then, okay, what are the daily commitments you’ll make every day to ensure that happens?

You could say, “I want to have a forty-inch vertical.”

What are the daily commitments to weight lifting, jumping, and plyometric training you will do every day?

You could say, “I have the goal to be a straight-A student.”

Yeah, I know this one. You get home and your homework isn’t done and you procrastinate. You play video games. You call your friends. Commitments don’t procrastinate. Commitments don’t wait. Commitments don’t whine.

They just get it done.


Committing to an ambitious goal calls for you to look yourself in the mirror and say, “I got you today commitment.”

That’s how you build trust with yourself.

That’s how you become All-State.

That’s how you play college basketball.

That’s how you become a straight-A student or a millionaire, by caring enough to stick to the small details of doing the work.

So maybe I need to replicate what I did as a seventh grader when I wrote my goals and commitments on notecards and stuck it on my ceiling, my bathroom mirror and my school folders.

These notecards read:

“Play professional basketball.”

“Touch a basketball twice a day, every day.”

I knew if I could commit to just touching a ball twice a day, I would start shooting, dribbling, and playing. I knew I would start sweating and want to improve once I acted upon just touching a ball.

The commitments adapted as I got older– to wake up and practice before school started… to lift weights like a mad man… to play 1 on 1 with older kids or do dribble drills at lunch time… or to challenge my own friends to play me in 2 on 1.

I learned and replicated how Pistol Pete Maravich carried and dribbled his basketball with him everywhere. But I stayed true to my commitment to not only touching a basketball twice a day but to doing more than I thought I was capable of.

Yeah, unfortunately, people stared at me when I wore Strength Shoes to school.

“You are crazy, kid,” they’d say.


But guess what– I was committed too.


365 days straight.

Like Yoda said, “Do or do not, there is no try.”

There is no trying to do a commitment. There is only doing or not doing. In a book Fail Fast, Fail Often: How Losing Can Help You Win, two Stanford professors (Ryan Babineaux, John Krumboltz) taught a class on committing to doing, failing, and doing it again. They said,  “Happy and successful people tend to spend less time planning and more time acting. They get out into the world, try new things, and make mistakes, and in doing so, they benefit from unexpected experiences and opportunities.”

There is a difference between setting a goal and actually committing to it day after day. You will be acting on commitments and possibly making mistakes, but moving forward, growing, and experiencing the world rather than thinking about it.

As I thought about my goals (and commitment blunders) as a 37-year old man, I heard something on the other end of the line. Charlie was still waiting.

“Oh, hey man, you there? Sorry. I was thinking about something.”

“Yeah, no crap,” he laughed. “So, see you at five?”

Before answering, I reflected on my life. My happiest and most joyful moments come when I’m around people I enjoy. When I’m part of a team. When I’m helping others succeed at something. When I’m sweating and pushing myself, trying to be the best version of myself. 

So why wouldn’t I commit to something that brings me joy and happiness? If commitments are what help me reach my goals and my goals are in line with my values and vision of what and who I want to become, why would I not commit?

If commitments are the life force of professional point guards, millionaires, maestros or savants and success stories, if commitments to never skip your workouts, to save and invest 10% of every payday, to be on time for practice, for workouts, for meetings, for appointments, for work, for anything and everything in life that gives you meaning…

Why let RESISTANCE win by not acting upon new commitments?

An epiphany hit me: if I can’t commit to being on time for something that gives me meaning, what does that say about me?

“Charlie,” I said.


“I’ll be ready to go at five– on the dot.”

Stay inspired. — Trevor Huffman

PS. One of my favorite quotes that will inspire us onwards to hunting our new dreams. Mark Twain said: “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”

My Sports Failures: How an Athlete Learns to Choose


“Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”- Viktor Frankl

When I was in my 10th year of playing professional basketball in Charleroi, Belgium, I read Viktor Frankl’s book: Man’s Search for Meaning. Viktor was a prominent psychiatrist and survivor of the Holocaust and lived through a despicable concentration camp experience. He wrote a book about that experience and while I was living in the gray, dilapidated concrete apartments of Charleroi, Viktor’s words echoed something I found helpful as an athlete and human being.

“When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.” VF


Even when humans are prisoners of war or inside chaos, pain, suffering, death, and atrocious human indignity, the last freedom we have is the opportunity to choose our response to that situation we are faced with.

It’s a powerful epiphany to have and I didn’t always realize what sports or living abroad or playing professional basketball offers us in lieu of stimuli and choice.

“Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.” Viktor Frankl

I can’t say I always chose the best attitude at every 6:00 a.m. morning skill development workout.

Or every grueling weight room session.

Or every season-ending team meeting.

Or every speed and conditioning track workout.

Or every loss that seems to be the end of the world.

But as I got older (and wiser), I realized I could choose a better attitude in any situation, that I could open myself to be a more engaging teammate, to care a bit more for the game plan of the coach, to sign autographs and give back to the fans and treat them with dignity and respect.

With sports, those adverse situations, and losses, and failures, well they can stack up against you. They can be pervasive to your core because they are so important to you, and because they feel so much bigger than they actually are.

Looking back, I failed a lot during my professional and amateur basketball career. I’ve been benched for poor play. I shot 4-22 against Xavier on ESPN and I played like crap in our Kent State 2002 Elite Eight loss. Or the many times in Europe I’ve been fined for losing, or failed to live up to management’s expectations or I’ve been given fake checks for not playing well (thanks Poland!) I’ve been fired for not scoring more than 15 points in Venezuela, and I’ve been cut because I was told I was too slow, too fat, too bulky, too this or that.

Yeah, I failed to respond admirably or positively in many of those situations (especially the early morning ones), but I didn’t choose that mindset for very long. I wasn’t always so self-malicious, so this-is-the-end-the-world, or so negative that I couldn’t find a silver lining for growth and positivity in my life.

Sure, there were days that little-kid-Trevor didn’t get his way and he wanted to rage against the world’s injustices towards him, but I knew deep down, the only way to achieve success was to choose better. 

Choose a better response for myself, regardless of what was happening around me– that was the only way I knew how to get myself off the ground and start working towards my dreams again.

But sometimes in life, like losing love for the first time, or transitioning to a new career, or starting over financially, your heart and soul just don’t know how to choose any response, nonetheless, a positive one. Anguish, sadness, and depression can set in because that’s what happens when you fail, or lose, start over or have meaning taken away from you.

Stimuli. Space and time, then reaction or choice.

That what I love about sports. Sports offers you daily stimuli and you react or choose your mindset in relation to that stimuli. And then the next time stimuli comes along, you start to react consciously. You can choose your attitude, day after day, challenge after challenge, tragedy or comedy.

That book helped me realize that inside a sports season, especially as I got older, my greatest freedom is choosing my attitude inside my next step or action.

It’s how overweight soldiers become green berets. It’s how single moms (and dads) raise amazing kids. It’s how you energize yourself to bounce back.

When I played poorly, I could either choose to get in the gym before everyone the next morning or find the custodian and shoot till 3:00 a.m. while everyone slept. 

No one could stop me from choosing my attitude or mindset. By choosing to be positive, by choosing action– to get back in the gym, to stick with my goals, to fight through my benchings and poor play, to not allow society or coaches or media define who I was as a basketball player or person, I found success and happiness during the moments of my journey.

I am learning that I can do that in life outside basketball now that my professional basketball career is over (but man, does the stimuli feel so different!)

This is the education that sports presents us: practicing athletes learn something about choosing a mindset that they can use as a tool for the rest of their lives. And no amount of failure, loss, tragedy, or condition matter as much as your ability to treat others and yourself, with positivity, love, and respect. Choosing your response day after day is just as important as your vision of who you want to become. We are all painting our own portrait every day. With every stroke, with every dab of paint, with every practice and choice, we start to paint the vision we see of ourselves.

Whether we know it or not, in our worst moments or the best moments, everyone is essentially choosing their own attitude and path, and to the extent that our attitude is positive and internally uplifting, we will find ourselves where our minds take us.

Stay inspired. — Trevor Huffman

Being a Freshman on Varsity – My Basketball Anxiety



Trevor Huffman on Basketball Anxiety


Being a Freshman on Varsity: My Basketball Anxiety

“You aren’t worth a damn.”


“You are going to lose.”


“Do you even belong here?”

I slammed the bathroom door behind me and sat on the toilet. As my monkey mind chattered away (I called it my monkey mind because it is that voice that never stops talking), I realized how excited, anxious, and negative I felt. Really, at any moment, I could pass out. And tonight was a big night for me. It was something I had worked really hard to make happen. Unfortunately, this process came with gut-riddling nausea, cold sweats, and racing thoughts.  

Granted, I was a freshman playing in my first varsity game. It had been a dream of mine since I was in seventh grade. But death was above me pounding their feet into a wooden floor. The fans had a certain rhythm, like a hundred thousand soldiers slamming their swords into their shields at once.  I knew up there, on the court, fanatics were waiting for me to fail, standing vigil over their team with judging eyes.

But that’s what anxiety does to you before battle. It makes you think about every single angle, every single move, every single opponent, every strength and weakness and it loops in your head like a video on repeat. I couldn’t sleep the night before and when I woke up in the morning to eat my Frosted Flakes, my hands were cold, white, and shaky as I spooned the cereal into my mouth. My stomach churned. My mom was talking to me, but I didn’t hear what she was saying.

I was obsessing about the game.

Looking back now, at 37, after 22 years of having a basketball in my hand every day, I’m able to understand things that I wasn’t able to when I was younger. See, it wasn’t all anxiety. It was excitement too. It was this nervous excitement to do something I loved. And it was this battle between allowing nervousness and anxiety to swing back and forth like a pendulum and still move forward through it that mattered.

Some people may call this existential decisiveness– moving through the crossroads of anxiety, fear, and nervous excitement through action and meaning.

Fast forward to that infamous first-game-day in St. Ignace, Michigan. We were playing a team ranked in the top ten in Class C basketball. I had just been called up from JV because our senior guard had a sprained ankle, which meant, I would have to play.

The bus ride from Petoskey to St. Ignace seemed like eternal purgatory. The toilet episode had my older brother (a volatile all-state power forward) wondering where I went. And as I ran onto the court and heard the boos, and jeers, and cheers, I could literally feel the heat and energy of a packed gym, feel the unseen hope of thousands of people during that silent moment before the national anthem.

The music was always my cue to breathe and relax, shut my eyes and know everything would be all right– win or lose, fail or succeed, bomb or ace. It was when the music played that I shut my eyes, prayed and repeated bible quotes like: “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”


Yet, even after my eyes opened, I hoped I was strong enough to run onto the court when Coach called my name. But there was so much meaning for me to play in the game that night, in fact, to play basketball every night. Maybe it was moving away from my dad (my mom had custody) and wanting to show him I was worth that long drive to visit us from Flint. Maybe it was wanting my mom to see me succeed and face our fears. Maybe it was my younger brother Damon (of six years) and his white puffy hair, as he idled by, watching me with gargantuan eyes and an admiring smile. Maybe it was my older brother Jeremy, who played power forward on varsity and had always been tough on me, preparing me for this moment.

Maybe it was the notecard I had made as a seventh grader and pinned to my ceiling that reminded me of my goals:

Play varsity basketball as a freshman with Jeremy.

Workout twice a day with basketball.

Win a state championship.

Play professional basketball in Europe.


This morning, at age 37, in my effort to attach meaning to my new life after basketball, I’m reading notes about Eric Maisel’s book Mastering Creative Anxiety. It is a great book in helping understand why we have anxiety and how to deal with it.

I think about myself as a kid, that teenager that felt like he is awaiting the executioner block. 

That is anxiety.

Procrastinating, worrying, obsessing, and fretting over the blank page of my next game was in many ways like what anyone feels when they want to do something creative, something that matters to them,  something aligned with their purpose, authentic expression, and future.

This could be writing a book. Finishing a painting. Getting a workout in. Playing in a game. Going to get a new degree. Going to work. Finishing a speech. Quitting your job. Giving a speech. Coaching. Creating and teaching a curriculum you believe in. 

As Brian Johnson, one of my favorite collector of motivation and inspirational books says:

  1. Ask what matters to you?
  2. Are your thoughts aligned with what matters to you?
  3. Are your behaviors aligned with what matters to you?
  4. How can I make myself proud?

Good luck out there and stay inspired.

— Trevor Huffman

Traverse City Basketball | Trevor Huffman Basketball Academy | Fall/Winter 2016


Last week in Traverse City at my Trevor Huffman Basketball Academies, I challenged players to start understanding work ethic and the victor versus victim mindset.

What players can consistently work hard without a coach around and be aware of their actions and know how to auto-correct them from day to day?

What is the victor and victim mindset and what does it sound like in your own head?

I’d rather have a Northern Michigan player work smart and hard for seven days a week by themselves or a teammate than work hard for one day with me.

I challenged players to turn the victim switch mindset off and we all know it– parents, coaches, players– that little voice that complains, blames, and finds the easy way out.

Yet, not all of us are aware of it. Not parents. Not coaches. Not kids.

The goal is to learn about what it is, to start to listen and be aware of that resistant voice that tells you instead of doing something powerful, energetic, ambitious, hard, or something that is aligned and weaved into your dreams, aspirations, and goals, it tells you to be comfortable, to sit on the couch, to eat those chips, to not do anything because you are too sore, too tired, too hungry, too old, too dumb, too anything.

Victim mindset.


Victors hear that victim voice and rise to the challenge. They rise against the fear and prove to themselves they can take the smallest of steps to achieve their goals.

Trevor Huffman (twitter)

Traverse City basketball is off to a rocking start with the Trevor Huffman Basketball Academy. Trevor has played 12 years of professional basketball and loves to inspire, teach, and lead kids to create work ethic, basketball skills, and self-awareness about what it takes to have success on and off the court.



Traverse City Basketball Academy with Trevor Huffman

You can find all of Trevor Huffman’s Basketball Academies here in Traverse City, Michigan for Fall/Winter 2016.


A 12-year professional point guard from Northern Michigan understands the time, work, and energy it takes to be successful at the game of basketball.

As the all-time leading scorer and mid-major All-American at D1 Kent State University, Trevor Huffman has taught, inspired, and coached youth at his Trevor Huffman Basketball Academies for over 10 years.

Traverse City Trevor Huffman Basketball Academy will:

  • Breaks down basketball movements in a micro and macro manner. Teaching players how to instinctually read the game better, be a better teammate, but also develop faster, more explosive, and better individual basketball skills.
  • Teaches players how to become better leaders on and off the court, how to incorporate  individual work ethic, radical personal self-reliance, and responsibility into their lives through self-awareness.

Traverse City Basketball: Fall 2016 Sundays


Traverse City: Basketball Fall 2016

Starting in Traverse City, the Trevor Huffman Basketball Academies, players will learn how to move with and without a basketball through radical basketball skill training drills, compete against themselves and others in Traverse City, learn how to play basketball through building personal work ethic, mental leadership skills, and self-awareness.

Follow Trevor on Instagram for updated Traverse City basketball fliers, inspirational stories, basketball workouts, training programs and more.

TRAVERSE CITY: THBA Basketball Workouts include:

  • developmental sports performance techniques
  • speed, agility, quickness with / without a basketball
  • teaching how to develop and use basketball moves in micro/macro manner
  • playing fundamental high I.Q. basketball through programming youth players to be accountable for their play
  • high reps and live one one, two on two, three on three play for faster learning


Pay Online for Traverse City Basketball Sundays!



My Best Sports Blog – September 2016: Courage and Beating Lebron James




Beating Lebron- My Best Sports Blog for 2016



When the King, Lebron James rips through and drives left, there is one thing that every basketball player should have: courage.

And so it begins. My professional basketball career was a dream that I worked hard to achieve and playing Lebron James was proof of my courage paying off. Because getting paid to do what you love doesn’t happen overnight.

Not for me, not for Lebron, not for anyone.

So ask this: What does the basketball world need from you? What can you give it? How do you get there? What do you need to really make dreams come true?


Here’s a quote I love from Jeff Goins: “Successful people and organizations don’t succeed in spite of failure. They succeed because of it. … The world can be cruel. It’s nobody’s responsibility to make your dream come true.

Let me repeat that. It’s not my responsibility, or anyone else’s responsibility to make your dream come true. By taking responsibility, you will attract people that will give you help along the way.

My off-season basketball training workouts and having the courage to completely give myself to a basketball workout plan, to fail against better players, essentially allowed me to succeed by learning new skills and adapting my game by attracting coaches, trainers, and peers that wanted the same thing.

Oops, I forgot, Lebron is going by me!

“Help, help–” I yell.

Nene Hilario steps over to slow him down and I slip in front of Romeo Travis for the dump down pass.

Lebron is already anticipating this, slows his attack, keeps his head up and glides a ball into the spot where I was moving out of– an overhead pass that flips out of his hand like a pebble from a trebuchet.

The ball slams into the pulled back bleachers.

Basketball Theory 101 (with Lebron James):

Rule 1: Move to open spot for Lebron James, or in the line of sight with the driver, and give him a target.

Rule 2: If you don’t do Rule 1, tell Lebron, “My Bad.”

Not that I’m complaining at this point, it’s our ball and our defense is holding on for stops. I love playing help-side, watching the ball and man move, being ready to drop down for an easy steal or deflection to help my teammate that is beat off the dribble.

My coach in high school, Dennis Starkey (Michigan Hall of Famer) used to call these championship plays.

“Just because your beat, doesn’t mean your out of the play,” Coach Starkey would yell.


My Best Sports Blog – September 2016


Since high school, I was never ranked, never recruited, and no one thought I could play division one basketball. To get better, I knew I needed to find players that were better or higher ranked than me.  I went to Flint, Michigan. I went to Detroit. I went to Grand Rapids. I found talented players and competed against them.

As I got to the pros, I was competing against players like Lebron James, or Nene Hilario or Stephon Marbury, or Amare Stoudamire, or Jason Kidd, or Leandro Barbosa, or Penny Hardaway, or Shawn Marion, and suddenly, I realized how important my basketball workouts are.

Well planned basketball workouts prepare you for the season. They prepare you to become a hard worker, a better athlete, and a better person and player on and off the court. I am always teaching players at my basketball academies that it’s okay to compete like hell and lose.

We all have bad moments, bad workouts, or get nervous, or choke, or lose big games.

But real competitors just keep coming at you. They keep moving forward with courage, stick to their basketball workout plan and don’t quit.

Playing against Lebron James makes you realize how important your basketball workouts are, how focused and purposeful you have to be in your training to have any success.

Suddenly, D2 passes me the ball and I dribble it up into a drag screen with Nene. He slides to the hoop effortlessly, sucking in the help side like a vacuum. I kick it for a three in the corner.

We are winning three points to one.

As I’m running back on defense, an epiphany hits me, Nene Hilario is basically the Brazilian dude Blanca from the video game Street Fighter. He is flying around, rotating, blocking shots, doubling Lebron on the post, and making guys miss shots.


I love the way Nene plays and holds himself: his huge white grin, his bad English, and his positive energy. I’m realizing everything is happening faster than normal due to Lebron and Nene being on the court. Every decision is a half second faster. Every loose ball is in danger. Every offensive rebound is a possible tip dunk.

With these guys on the court, no one is safe.


Lebron sprints past me dribbling the ball. It’s remarkable. He is so damn fast, I honestly think he can beat Usain Bolt. But Nene keeps finding ways to get in front of him. As Nene sucks up another rebound like a gargantuan troll and whips an overhead pass out to my younger brother, something bad happens.

Unfortunately for D2, it’s slightly behind him.

D2 glances up and does something no one should ever do.

He steps in front of an oncoming Lebron James and waits.

Now, maybe this was from his years and years of playing me in one on one and learning in the fiery forges of failure how to give up your body for the success of your team.

Goodbye, young brother. Oh, how I’ll miss you.



Courage in Sports: The How of Courage in your Basketball Training

Hearing Lebron hit my brother was probably much like the sound a pancake makes when it’s dropped from a skyscraper. As Lebron is dragging him between his legs trying to slow down, my brother crumples and falls limp onto the ground.

I admire that about my brother. I admire his ability to put his body on the line to win. It’s what makes athletics and competing fun. Not everyone is born for this. We practice this quality of courage, day after day, and when we are sore, beat up, and broken down, we decide to get up and put our body on the line again.

Real athletes don’t realize how hard it is for normal people to do this, how much courage it takes to eat right, recover right, and find a way to train or practice again the next day. The beauty of sports is the mental game it takes to be successful.

If you aren’t having success with basketball, maybe you are approaching it the wrong way.

“The more we focus on solving other people’s problems, the more successful we will be.” ~ Chris Guillebeau

Maybe a question you can ask is: How can I make others look brilliant on and off the court like Lebron James?

I look over as Lebron tries to peel my younger brother up.

“You good?” Lebron asks. “C’mon man, get up.”

D2 shuts his eyes for a moment and then opens them again.

“I’m good–I’m good… they called a foul right?”

Lebron grins and we all start chuckling.

Nene is shaking his head, saying something in Portuguese and then we inbound the ball and are off and running again. It’s fun to run the point against Lebron. I try to attack with him on the strong side because Lebron helping from the weak side makes any pass a possible turnover.





Nene Hilario isn’t picking and popping or shooting threes. He is rim running and rim dunking. Running a pick and roll with Nene Hilario is like throwing a basketball into orbit and watching it get sucked into a black hole.

Which is so damn fun.

I mean, it makes me feel like a real life John Stockton. I mean every pass I can get within his vicinity is caught. Then after he catches it, he spins or bull charges his way to the rim and dunks or finishes or steamrolls every man, woman, and child in his path.

Nothing makes it out of Blanca’s electric slide, not even Lebron James.




We start building a lead. D2 is playing solid defense but hasn’t shot yet. I keep yelling at him to be a threat on offense (side note, if you can’t be a threat on offense, you are being selfish, it just makes it harder for the other four guys to do their thing).

The first game goes to us. The second game goes to us. The third. The fourth. The fifth. And fuming, focused Lebron hasn’t left the court. He keeps putting new teams together that may fit well with him.

Until game six starts. We are getting tired and Lebron is still flying up and down the court like a hyper gargantuan albatross. The momentum is changing and we can’t keep up. The King flies in from the weak side and dunks it with two hands and Nene, our defensive stalwart, puts his head down.

No wide white toothed smile this time.

No Blanca electric slide.

Our defensive lanes are opening up and they start rattling off easy point after easy point. That momentum that had been ours is now gone. I try to double Lebron in the post on game point and he spins by me on the baseline, bumping me off like a monster truck in the bumper car ride at the fair.

Earlier that week, I had just gotten up 275 pounds on the bench press, something I had been focusing on in my Tim Grover sports performance workouts.

I grab his arm as he takes off and he just takes me with him.

And one dunk to end the game.

The game is over and Lebron beats his chest to an imaginary crowd. He loves winning. He is a competitor. He keeps coming at you. Win or lose. And even better, he wants to win every moment of every game.

Lebron’s body, power, and athleticism are something out of a sci-fi movie. He is like playing NBA2k with the turbo button.

I feel honored to have played with him.

“Good game Bron,” I hear my brother say. Lebron daps him with a big fist pound.

“You all right?”

“Yeah, you rung my bell, but I’m fine.”

I dap a few of the players.

I dap Lebron.

I walk off the court and dap my teammates. I am already analyzing what we could have done differently. Maybe we should have forced him middle on the double? Maybe we should have fouled them in their open court situations to stop their transition?

Maybe, at this young age, Lebron is already starting to understand and analyze winning, how to train, workout, and compete. Lebron is an old basketball soul in one of the world’s most athletic bodies ever created.

I realize I’m staring directly at him and shake my head.

Man, he is so friggin’ good.

“Good work fellas, come back again,” Lebron says.

“Thanks for having us,” I say.

King James flashes his smile and walks back onto the court. “Who’s on next?” he yells.

I will never play against Lebron James again, but I know beating him felt good. I jog over to my younger brother.

“You okay?”

“I’m good.”

“You have fun?”

D2, my younger brother, the first player I ever trained and coached, grins as sweat drips down his forehead.

“Of course.”

“Well, why didn’t you shoot?”

“We were winning– and like you always said, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”

Touche D2. Touche.

It takes courage to know what your team needs to win. It takes courage to show up day after day. It takes courage to fail, pivot your strategy, and keep moving forward. But day after day, your courage strengthens, your resolve strengthens, and ultimately, so does your game.