Three life lessons NBA Finals 2016 taught us

An emotional LeBron James embraces teammate Kevin Love after the Cleveland Cavaliers defeated the Golden State Warriors to become 2016 NBA Champions.

An emotional LeBron James embraces teammate Kevin Love while J. R. Smith celebrates nearby after the Cleveland Cavaliers defeated the Golden State Warriors to become 2016 NBA Champions.

By Carmen Glover

It’s no secret that sports sometimes act as a metaphor for life and amid the rush of euphoria being felt by fans of the Cleveland Cavaliers who won their first NBA Championship with a decisive 93-89 victory over the Golden State Warriors, there are some important lessons to learn. The victory comes after a 52-year drought in professional team championship in Cleveland in any sport.

As NBA fans around the globe celebrate with the deserving Cavaliers (I was rooting for Stephen Curry and the Golden State Warriors because I admire his tattoo-free, wholesome image and his thrilling style of play) the lessons that can be derived from the results of the NBA Finals 2016 are worthy of emulation.

The Cleveland Cavaliers came back from a 3-1 deficit to beat the Golden State Warriors and win the 2016 NBA Championship trophy.

The Cleveland Cavaliers came back from a 3-1 deficit to beat the Golden State Warriors and win the 2016 NBA Championship trophy.

  1.  Never Give Up On Your Dreams

Throughout his life, James, 31, has been driven to succeed, propelled by a fierce desire to escape poverty, reach the pinnacle of basketball, while being an astute businessman, loyal friend, devoted father and exemplary team-mate. After a successful career at St Vincent-St. Mary High School, he was drafted by the Cleveland Cavaliers with the first overall pick in the 2003 NBA draft

After failing to win an NBA championship, he bolted for Miami Heat in 2010 in a controversial ESPN special called “The Decision,” in which he famously announced that he was “taking my talents to South Beach.”  With the Heat, he won consecutive NBA championship titles in 2012 and 2013 before returning to Cleveland to lead his team to the ultimate victory last night, June 19, coming back from 3-1, a feat never before seen in the NBA Finals. “Cleveland,” James screamed as tears of joy streamed down his face, “This is for you.”

In his first year as head coach, Tyronn Lue, 37, leads the Cleveland Cavaliers to the team's first NBA Championship.

In his first year as head coach, Tyronn Lue, 39, leads the Cleveland Cavaliers to the team’s first NBA Championship.

In life, we all face disappointments, uncertainty, betrayals and what appears to be insurmountable odds but the key to true success is an unwavering impetus to keep on pushing and fighting until the bitter end. Curry and the Warriors failed miserably in that regard, which, though unfortunate, provided a poignant lesson to all viewers of the game

 2.  Leaders Set An Example

Throughout the NBA regular season and Finals, it was evident that James was frustrated with his teammates when they failed to perform according to what was expected. In the past, he took out his frustration by posting cryptic messages on social media and demonstrating questionable body language.

The Cleveland Cavaliers are 2016 NBA Champions.

The Cleveland Cavaliers are 2016 NBA Champions.

But when the team was in the 3-1 Finals hole, an epiphany occurred and the Cavaliers finally understood that they were in that hole together. Every member of the team stepped up and contributed with James, Kyrie Irving, Tristan Thompson, Richard Jefferson and Kevin Love providing pivotal, albeit inconsistent and spirited, performances. Banding together, the Cavaliers erased all questions about their supremacy and created NBA history by becoming the first team to come back from a 3 game deficit to win the championship.

With first- time head coach Tyronn Lue at the helm, the team responded, came together and were victorious. Conversely, the Warriors fell apart, in more ways than one, with Draymond Green missing game five due to a suspension and Curry being ejected during game six. Meanwhile, coach Steve Kerr, basking in the glory of a team assembled by former Knick Mark Jackson, disappeared along with Klay Thompson, Shaun Livingston and other usually productive players.

Stephen Curry and the Golden State Warriors failed to repeat as consecutive NBA Finals Champions as LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers battled valiantly to the finish and emerged victorious.

Stephen Curry and the Golden State Warriors failed to repeat as consecutive NBA Finals Champions as LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers battled valiantly to the finish and emerged victorious.

3.  Achieving Goals Require Grit and Focus

The Warriors got caught up in the hype after winning their first two games on home turf and stealing one in Cavaliers territory. They became complacent and sloppy, conducting themselves with a careless aura of arrogance that was shortsighted at best and immature at worst. Amid the theatrics, they forgot one important lesson: It takes single-minded focus and grit to achieve goals and you cannot rest until you taste victory.

The Cavaliers, on the other hand, were steadfast in their goal of hoisting the NBA Championship trophy. They recovered swiftly from their mistakes and remained focused on the task at hand. They played with passion and purpose. The Cleveland Cavaliers deserved to win and the lessons that their championship run taught us can be applied to every life situation. Congratulations to the Cleveland Cavaliers! Well done and thanks for the lessons!–OnPointPress.net–

 

 

Warriors aim to repeat as NBA Champions

After a close MVP race this NBA season, James Harden (l) and Stephen Curry (r) are the clear frontrunners to win the award.

James Harden (l) and Stephen Curry (r) will continue their rivalry during the post season with game two tonight.

By Charles Glover, Jr.

The Golden State Warriors, toast of the NBA during the regular season, entered the post-season on a good note. The Warriors beat last season’s Western Conference opponents, the Houston Rockets, in their game opener with their star, Steph Curry, scoring 24 points before leaving the game due to a recurring ankle injury.

The Warriors started the regular season with 24 straight wins, a record in the NBA. They capped their historic season with 73 wins, setting a new record for wins in the regular season by winning one more than the Chicago Bulls in their 1990s heyday.  Anything short of an NBA title will be a major disappointment for the Warriors.

The Golden State Warriors celebrate their trip to the NBA Finals.

The Golden State Warriors celebrate their trip to the NBA Finals in 2015.

Curry, last season’s regular season MVP, was better this year despite head coach Steve Kerr missing the first half of the season recovering from back surgery. Draymond Green, Klay Thompson, and others are performing well. Overall, the team played all season with a heightened level of confidence earned by winning it all last season.

This year the Warriors lost only once to a team (San Antonio Spurs) that finished in the top four in their conference. They finished second to the Spurs for the best home record in the NBA with 39 wins and just 2 losses. There is no question they are the overwhelming favorite to win the title this year.

Stephen Curry and the top seeded Golden State Warriors now know their opponent in the Western Conference Finals. Now the MVP must play at a high level to get his team to the NBA Finals.

Stephen Curry and the top seeded Golden State Warriors  are focused on repeating as NBA champions this year.

Essentially, there are no excuses for the Warriors to lose in the playoffs. Curry proved on Saturday that he could deliver results despite his ankle Injury and the same dedication is expected of his team mates. Last season, LeBron James led the Cleveland Cavaliers to the NBA Finals minus two of his best teammates for a significant portion of the playoffs as Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving both endured serious injury during the playoffs.

Fatigue cannot be used as an excuse as the bulk of the Warriors team is in their physical prime. The Warriors they have rested players at various junctions throughout the season. They have defeated all competitors this season and there is no reason not to expect a dominant post-season performance from the defending champions. That is what an all-time great team is expected to do.–OnPointPress.net–

 

Golden State Warriors win 2015 NBA title, Iguodala is MVP, after magical season

The Golden State Warriors shoed teamwork is needed to win NBA Finals 2015.

The Golden State Warriors showed that teamwork is needed to win NBA Finals 2015.

Stephen Curry has led his team with humility and poise.

Stephen Curry has led his team with humility and poise.

By Charles Glover, Jr.

The Golden State Warriors responded to a 2 -1 series deficit by winning three consecutive games to win their first NBA Championship since 1975 with a final score of 105 – 97 on Tuesday, June 16 in Cleveland. Regular season MVP Stephen Curry led the team with 25 points in the game, but the Warriors got great production from forwards Andre Iguodala and Draymond Green. Green notched a triple-double with 16 points, 11 rebounds, and 10 assists while Iguodala tied the team’s lead in scoring with 25 points and was named NBA Finals MVP.

Golden State Warriors' leader Stephen Curry has exemplified grace under pressure.

Golden State Warriors’ leader Stephen Curry has exemplified grace under pressure.

LeBron James finished the game with a near triple-double himself scoring 32 points with 18 rebounds and 9 assists. The Cavaliers clearly missed the injured Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love as they struggled to find consistent production throughout the series. The Warriors were able to capitalize on 16 turnovers by the Cavaliers to generate good ball movement that resulted in 28 team assists for the game.

Andre Iguodala was named NBA Finals MVP, beating out self-proclaimed "best player in the world" Lebron James from the Cleveland Caveliers.

Andre Iguodala was named NBA Finals MVP, beating out self-proclaimed “best player in the world” Lebron James from the Cleveland Cavaliers.

In the battle of first year NBA head coaches, the Warriors’ Steve Kerr was able to out-strategize the Cavaliers’ David Blatt. The series shifted after Kerr’s game 4 decision to start Iguodala and the Warriors never looked back. In all fairness to Blatt, the Cavaliers were not left with many options after losing Irving during game one, but the team still had their chances in the series. Cleveland has nothing to be ashamed of as they played valiantly through adversity and received extraordinary efforts from their leader James. One can only wonder what the series would have looked like if the Cavaliers were healthier.

Former Golden State Warriors Coach Mark Jackson set the foundation for the team's successful 2014-2015 season and NBA 2015 Finals win.

Former Golden State Warriors Coach Mark Jackson set the foundation for the team’s successful 2014-2015 season and NBA 2015 Finals win.

On the other hand, the win caps off a magical season for Curry, who becomes just the third point guard to earn regular season MVP honors and win the NBA title in the same season. The splash brothers, Curry and Klay Thompson, made their former NBA playing dads, Dell Curry and Mychal Thompson, proud just in time for Father’s Day.

Steve Kerr seems like a genius, in hindsight, for spurning the New York Knicks and choosing to lead the young Golden State Warriors team that former NBA coach and current TV Analyst Mark Jackson assembled.

Steve Kerr seems like a genius, in hindsight, for spurning the New York Knicks and choosing to lead the young Golden State Warriors team that former NBA coach and current TV Analyst Mark Jackson assembled.

There will be plenty of celebrating in the Bay Area in the next couple of days after a very exciting season. Congratulations to the Warriors, 2015 NBA champions, and congratulations to St. John’s product Mark Jackson who was instrumental in implementing the winning philosophy and culture that Kerr inherited in leading a young, talented, likeable team to the pinnacle of victory..–OnPointPress.net–

Charles Glover, Jr. is a sports aficionado and licensed insurance agent with HealthMarkets. Follow him on Twitter at @GloverIsGood.

Mysterious NBA coaching criteria surfaces as free agency begins

 

Jason Kidd will join his second team in his second year as a head coach. So does this technically make him an experienced coaching hire for the Bucks?
Jason Kidd will join his second team in his second year as a head coach. So does this technically make him an experienced coaching hire for the Bucks?

 By Charles Glover, Jr.

As NBA free agency begins this July 1, 2014, there are still a couple of head coaching vacancies to be filled. The Brooklyn Nets find themselves looking for a new head coach after Jason Kidd and the Milwaukee Bucks agreed to terms on June 30 as their new head coach. Meanwhile, the storied Los Angeles Lakers franchise is still without a head coach, though they may have narrowed their search to a few candidates by now. The head coaching carousel continues in the NBA while the criteria for being hired as a head coach becomes more mysterious and cloudy than ever.

The Knicks new general manager, Phil Jackson (r), felt comfortable hiring coaching novice Derek Fisher (l) because of system familiarity. Time will tell if this strategy is successful.

The Knicks’ new general manager, Phil Jackson (r), felt comfortable hiring coaching novice Derek Fisher (l) because of system familiarity. Time will tell if this strategy is successful.

A year ago, the Brooklyn Nets were questioned about their decision to hire Jason Kidd as their head coach, directly from his last moments playing in the league. A season later, the New York Knicks followed suit by hiring Derek Fisher, fresh of his final game as a player. The trend of hiring head coaches with no coaching experience did not start with Kidd, however. Just a few seasons ago, Mark Jackson transitioned successfully from announcer to head coach. However, his success was not good enough to prevent the Golden State Warriors from firing him and replacing him with Steve Kerr, another first time head coach with no prior coaching experience.

The last time Lionel Hollins was coaching he led his team to the Western Conference Finals. He is rumored to be a possible replacement for Jason Kidd in Brooklyn.

The last time Lionel Hollins coached he led his team to the Western Conference Finals and he was rewarded by being fired promptly. His success did not earn him another coaching job. He is rumored to be a possible replacement for Jason Kidd in Brooklyn.

Head coaches in the NBA appear to have very little job security and very little indication that their job is even jeopardy. The most recent example would be former Milwaukee Bucks head coach Larry Drew, who was entering year two of a three-year contract and had no idea his job was on the line just a week ago. Other examples from this season would be Maurice Cheeks formerly of the Detroit Pistons and Mike Brown formerly of the Cleveland Cavaliers, both of whom lost their jobs after a year, or less),into multi-year contracts as head coaches.

Those coaches were at the helm of teams that struggled but Lionel Hollins led the Memphis Grizzlies to the Western Conference Finals in 2013 for the first time in team history and was abruptly fired immediately afterwards. George Karl was let go by the Denver Nuggets in 2013 after he won NBA Coach of the Year that season.

Phoenix Suns head coach was runner-up to Gregg Popovich for NBA Coach of the Year in 2014.

Phoenix Suns Head Coach Jeff Hornacek was runner-up to Gregg Popovich for NBA Coach of the Year in 2014.

Ironically, the past typical trend of hiring coaches who have previous coaching experience was successful template for several teams last season. The Phoenix Suns hired Jeff Hornacek last season after he had been an assistant coach in the NBA for a few years, and saw their team win 48 games and greatly improve from the season before. The Charlotte Hornets hired Steve Clifford, who had also been an assistant head coach for years in the NBA, and were pleased with the resulting 43 wins and 7th seed in the playoffs. The Toronto Raptors had success for the first time in many years under Dwayne Casey, who had former NBA head coaching experience. The Portland Trailblazers were another team that saw a nice turnaround with a head coach, Terry Stotts, who had previous experience as an assistant coach in the NBA.

Patrick Ewing has been an assistant coach in the NBA since 2002 and has made his desires to be a head coach clear.

Patrick Ewing has been an assistant coach in the NBA since 2002 and has made his desires to be a head coach clear, yet he is overlooked every time that a head coaching job becomes available.

Teams have the right to make the changes they feel are necessary to improve their team, but it seems there is little merit behind this trend of unproven coaches gaining such prominent positions without prior experience. Several teams have long-time assistant coaches, like Robert Pack, Sam Cassell, and Patrick Ewing to name a few, that are worthy candidates and fit the mold of previous successful head coaches.

Gregg Popovich (l) and Eric Spoelstra (r) have been in the last two NBA Finals and have won multiple championships. Maybe their coaching background should be the standard.

Gregg Popovich (l) and Eric Spoelstra (r) have been in the last two NBA Finals and have won multiple championships. Maybe their coaching background should be the standard.

The teams that win championships do not hire coaches who do not have any coaching experience. The San Antonio Spurs’ head coach, Gregg Popovich, has been coaching since 1973. Eric Spoelstra was an assistant coach with the Miami Heat from 1997. Former coaching legend Phil Jackson was a coach for five years in the Continental Basketball Association (CBA) before joining the Chicago Bulls.

It seems that NBA franchises are trying to find out the hard way that there are no shortcuts to success and that the coaches who win championships have one major requirement on their resumes: solid experience, not flash.–OnPointPress.net–

Charles Glover Jr. is a sports aficionado and a management training consultant. Follow me @OpenWindowMES on Twitter.com.