In this world where everything is measured down to the nitty gritty, there should be a “confidence” stat. Maybe calculated by the percentage of low percentage shots attempted by the percentage of those low percentage shots made. Stephen Curry of the Golden State Warriors is the best shooter the league has ever seen. 80 percent of the reason why he is such an elite shooter is because he plays with elite confidence. He shoots the rock knowing he is going to make it. Not hoping he doesn’t miss. He’s knows his game. He’s confident in it. Being the son of a really good shooter, “he got shooter royalty inside his DNA.” That’s the confidence I’m referring to. The mental battle we all face everyday. Am I going to be okay versus I AM going to be okay. Two different mindsets which yield two the different outcomes. For now, let’s keep it basketball. We can discuss philosophy and help each other find the light we all seek another day. Promise.
Basketball is 80 percent mental and 20 percent physical. For you true hoopsters out there when you walk in the gym for a couple runs, what’s the first thing you normally do? Look for the best guy, right? Why? Because if he’s the best and you beat him, you’re the best. Even though you’re not the tallest or strongest, you step into the gym with the mindset, “I’m the best player in here. My game is the tightest.” You may not say it out loud (unless you want a huge bullseye on your back) but the first step to owning the gym is having that mindset you already own the gym. Stephen Curry looks like he’s toying with people on the hardwood because he is toying with people on the hardwood. It’s nothing personal, it’s basketball, bruh.
2-Time NBA Champion and reigning Defensive Player of the year Draymond Green is the perfect modern day example of this rule. At 6 foot 7 inches and 230 pounds, night after night he battles the best bigs of NBA and is extremely effective at neutralizing those positions. How is he so successful? Loads of confidence. His level of confidence out weighs his opponents’ which gives him the advantage each outing. And what makes him even more effective is he will test your confidence by him being that confident. This is referred to as “trash talk” or talking “smack.” Very effective tactic for those who lack the mental toughness to play at the highest level every night.
You know that super annoying guy by the name of Gary Payton? Known as “The Glove”? He was a superior defender because the confidence he had in his defense was superior to his opponents’ confidence in their offense. He was extremely confident and took pride in trying to prevent an opponent from scoring. He’s probably one of the best trash talkers of all time. His confidence in his defense led him to be on the All-Defensive Team 9 times.
I would probably guess Kevin Garnett talks smack to his mom. While he sleeps, he talks smack to the hoopers of the beyond. The anchor to one of the greatest defensive teams ever, he knew exactly how to tap into a weak mind because he was just that mentally strong. He was never rattled or spooked. He did the rattling and spooking. He knew what buttons to push and what triggers to pull. He made a grown man cry in public (Glen “Big Baby” Davis). What left is there to say? I probably would have cried too.
Kevin Garnett is probably the most terrifying human being in existence and to ever exist. Photo courtesy of Sports Illustrated.com
The mental aspect of the game is overlooked, yet so obvious. Lebron lost in the NBA Finals against the Mavericks simply because he lacked the mental toughness to do it. All the physical aspects were there for him to win, but small and big mental lapses throughout the season and playoffs hindered him from claiming his first title. “The Chosen One” even admitted to trying to do too much of what other people asked. Weak minds worry when the anecdote is to simply ignore.
Lastly but certainly not the least. “His Royal Airness.” Oozing with confidence as he sticks his tongue while driving to the hoop to dunk on your whole squad. Instead of tallying up his point total as the game progresses, he counts down from 50 and makes sure you hear him doing so. Most people can’t walk and chew gum at the same time let alone play basketball while doing so. Michael J. Jordan. The greatest basketball player of all time. Nuff said. I’ll let you do the research.
The 80-20 rule. Pareto’s principle. Of all the variations out there, it all boils down to one main concept. Of everything you do and how well you do it, 80 percent of it is all mental. Will. Determination. Perseverance. Adversity. We live in a very limited, physical world where physical things submit and succumb. No one can or should ever make you think you are something you are not and do not claim to be. That’s ultimately your decision. No one else. As old (physical) and decrypted (physical) MJ at this point in his life, he still thinks he’s the best player in world and can beat anybody (mental). If you want to be the best, then think you’re the best. In doing so, you’re 80 percent of the way there which is most than most. The odds are already in your favor. It’s surprise how much self doubt is out there. Everyone has their days but don’t let it consume you. Embrace it, try to understand why it is you feel that way. Become of a better person/player because of it and move on. Refuse to let your mind sink into depths of worry and stress over things beyond your control. Control the controllables: your confidence and mental state. The more you do so, the stronger you become. Dare to be great, everyday. There’s your light. Go shine!