Premise: "You miss 100% of the shots you don't take"
This quote is attributed to the great Wayne Gretzky or Michael Jordan, depending on who you are talking to. The bottom line is, it's facts. As we sit on the eve of the NBA finals, Kawhi Leonard, the Raptors, and Drake are in it for the very first time. As we prepare for Game 1 of the finals, we are a series and 18 days removed from the very real reality that the Raptors were on the brink of there usual, disappointing, early exit from the playoffs. The Eastern Conference Semifinals came down to a nail-biting last-second shot and this time the ball bounced the Raptors' way.
"The Shot", as some refer to it in Toronto, was debated for days on most national media outlets. Many called it Michael Jordanesque. And why not? It is only the second game winning shot in a winner take all game in NBA history; the 1st being by Your Airness himself, Sir Michael Jeffrey Jordan. Others called it luck. And why not? I mean, I would bet everything I had; Kawhi couldn't hit that same shot 10 out of his next 100 attempts. Kawhi himself said, he practiced the shot a million times.
Honestly, the truth is probably somewhere in the middle. One thing we all know, a series win later over the Bucks and now in the NBA finals, the shot has catapulted Kawhi, the Raptors, and Drake, into a level of NBA success they have never seen before. AND when you step back and look at it, it all makes sense doesn't it? What is success but practice, plus opportunity, plus a little luck?
Go back a few months and we realize Kawhi is not the only person in Toronto who has taken such a crazy, franchise changing, hold your breath shot. "The Shot" could easily refer to the offseason moves Raptors' team president Masai Ujiri made before the start of this season, firing the NBA coach of the year and replacing him for a 1st-year coach. Trading Derozan, the most committed star in franchise history for Kawhi, a player who had stated he is not committed to anything past the fulfillment of this last year of his contract. If game 7 of the Raptors Sixers was a nail biter, then by time Kawhi took "The Shot" Masai Ujiri must have been all cuticles. As Kawhi crouched and the entire country of Canada, and Drake, held its breath, time stopped. With each bounce, the question, "Was it worth it?," loomed in the balance.
So What: So the truth is Kawhi, put in that very exact situation, having to take that very exact shot probably misses more than he makes - and almost never gets that exact same bounce. But none of that matters because he took that shot, and got that bounce. As I have watched high school basketball and AAU basketball this year, I've seen many young players who would not take that shot. But you have to, you have to take every shot that is given to you because you don't know if you will get another one. Keep shooting, the shot might just bounce your way and change the trajectory of your basketball life forever. Whether you are a starter or a player off the bench, whether you are the first option or the last, keep shooting. You never know when the ball will bounce your way and the shot will fall. And when it comes to basketball life off the court it is the same. Some decisions will be tough, but you must make them and live with the outcome.
Caution; While you must take the shot, don't take shots you don't practice, on the court and off the court. Make sure you are studied in what you do. Practice the shots on the court and study before you make decisions off the court. Before you take that game winning buzzer beater simulate that moment when you train. Prior to choosing a team, learn about the coach, make sure it is a fit. Remember PRACTICE, plus opportunity equals success. Oh and we all could use a little luck ;)
Submitted By Isaac Charles, C.O.O.