Thursday, August 13, 2009

What is the heart of a champion?

The heart of a champion. What does it mean?

I honestly think that is just means a tremendous focus on a singular goal; a focus so sharp it excludes all other goals. Nothing else can really be in focus when compared to this one goal.

And I see it in sports all the time. When a coach starts writing books, he's done. Especially in football.

When people achieve great success and then spread themselves too thin in the ensuing limelight, believing they have the Midas touch, only to discover that while they were out partying a person who was practicing and honing their skills the entire time has come and taken their spot.

I read about how Dwight Howard was touring and doing lots of things non-basketball related during the offseason. After he just got embarrassed on a national stage for his lack of freethrow shooting skills and post moves.

Thats not the heart of a champion. Kevin Garnett practices like a mad man, preferring to be the first player at the gym in the morning and the last person to leave.

LeBron James gets to a big game three hours early to practice shooting and get warmed up. I read before the 2007 Finals when he was demolished in four games by the Spurs that he learned it from Tim Duncan. Tim Duncan does that for EVERY game. TD is champ. LeBron is still ringless.

And personally, I doubt they will win it this year. Shaq is not a great teacher and not one to inspire others to work harder.

Lastly I noticed how Charles Barkley can't fix his golf swing. He gets half way to the ball in his downswing and then hesitates for a split-second and then resumes swinging. Its the dumbest thing you could imagine. And the funny part is that he doesn't have the mental acuity to overcome it!

Its incredible to want to get better and be unable to even swing the club smoothly. Let me ask you this: would Michael Jordan tolerate his mind and body conspiring to do something as stupid as that? The answer is no. And thats why MJ is a six time NBA champ and Charlest Barkley is not.

MJ could use his mind and willpower and force his body out of its comfort range and natural desires and mold it into whatever he wanted to. He wanted a postup game, he got one. Whatever his weaknesses were, he worked at them until they were strengths.

With Charles Barkley there is none of that. Just natural ability and thats it.

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