Nowitzness to Perseverance
Dirk Nowitzki and the Dallas Mavericks are the 2011 NBA Champions. High fives all around for the over-the-hill gang. Not many prognosticators had the Mavs as favorites to win it all at the beginning of the season. For one most of their impact players are a little long in the tooth. Also, This team as well as Nowitzki have a reputation of being soft. And that doesn’t bode well when trying to win a championship. But that was at the beginning of the season. At the end of the season they proved that they had more than enough intestinal fortitude to overcome the most talented team in the NBA, the Miami Heat.
As the undisputed leader of the Mavs, Dirk has reached the pinnacle of his career after 13 years of painstaking effort. In a post game interview, he mentioned his training regimen of shooting and drills well before his NBA career commenced. He has been persistently honing his skills while no one else was watching … a common refrain for champions.
In 2006, Nowitzki had a golden opportunity to take home the championship when He and the Mavs were up two games to none on the Heat. But they faltered losing the next four games and on came the criticism. Dirk can’t finish. The Mavericks are soft. Five years had passed and the two teams met again with very different rosters. Miami would seemingly have the advantage with two of the best players in the league in LeBron James and Dwayne Wade. Dallas had Dirk and Jason Terry returning as well as a collection of aging cast-offs who never quite made it to the top despite varying degrees of success with other teams.
Dallas showed the kind of perseverance that makes champions by coming from behind in the fourth quarter in the three of the four games the Mavericks won. The fourth quarter is what they call “winning time” in the sports biz. When it matters the most you bring your best. Dirk proved he had what it took went it came to the most important part of the game and arguably his career. He scored 10 of his 21 points in the last frame to help his team bring home the Bill Russell trophy.
Sports and business are easy to parallel. We can also be faced with naysayers and critics as we go for our goals. The trick is to keep working hard when no one is looking. It is not good enough to just show up when it is “game time” and hope for the best. The skills must be honed. The price must be paid to be a success when it matters most. The best way to quiet the detractors is to perform.
Previous failures do not dictate future success. What have you learned from your shortcomings? Many of the players on the Mavericks came very close to winning it all with previous teams. If they chose to learn nothing from those experiences would they have been able to become the champions that they are today? As the famous quote says, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” What do you remember that you did then that you can now do better? Failures should not be forgotten, they should be purposeful stepping stones to the next triumph.
It should be noted that Dirk did not win this on his own. As mentioned before he had scored half his points in a quarter of the game. The first three quarters were not his best. In fact in the first half, he only made one shot. His teammates were essential to the win. If we are going to persevere to fulfill our potential we have to rely on the right people around us. We need those with experience, passion and a desire for us to succeed. Many of the younger players on the Mavs expressed their desire for Nowitzki, Terry, Jason Kidd and Shawn Marion to get the championship they had missed out on previously. Find the right kind of people and surround yourself with wisdom.
Perseverance is not easy. Maybe that’s why the word severe is stuck in there. On the journey of persevering there will be pain. There will be disappointment. There will be loss. That is not where it ends, though. It ends with joy. It ends with contentment. It ends with success. It ends with raising a trophy over your head in celebration.
About the Author
Mark is a marketer and sometimes writer. He's trying to get better at that sometimes thing.