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Trust in the Finals


Let’s take a look at the childhood of players in the NBA to “get” the mindset at a really close game in the finals comes to fruition. LeBron was raised by a single mom in a small town in Ohio. He was always big and talented. As a black kid in his environment, though, I am pretty sure that he learned, from role models in the neighborhood, that he should not except himself too much. Keep your head down and lay low so as not to catch the attention of the police or others who enforced the rules of the game that was being played in that small town. That same atmosphere actually traces all the way back to slavery. Keep your head down even if you see a better way for things to unroll. You can share that at home, but not out in public. LeBron did not learn it was acceptable to assert himself until both Bosh and Wade were off in the Miami series against Indiana about 5 years ago. Until then, he would still revert to his childhood persona of being great, but not assertive. Sure, he is assertive over the top now, but how will that translate when all the pressure is on? Will he trust his teammates, all of them, and will they trust him and each other, even when mistakes start to occur, as they surely will. That is the key to success, continuing to trust even when things go bad.

Trust, by the way, is essential to winning a basketball game. Trust up and down the bench – players and coaches. The analogy of a wolf pack is appropriate. It takes all the wolves doing their part, at all times, to get the prey for the pack to share. Sometimes, the wolf that just occupies a remote space to keep the prey from heading in that direction is the key. Just like Rasheed Wallace would let the guy on the far wing that he was a half a step toward the spot that the player would need to get to if he beat his man out on the wing such that the player would take that move off his list of possibilities.

Trust on offense is easier than trust on defense, because there is a greater ability to dictate the moves when you are on offense. On defense, everyone must react to what the other team is doing such that the trust, right down to the core, has to be there such that you can rely on one of your other guys getting the weak side such that you can still leave that path as the only path you give up, since you can’t stop every path. Defense in the NBA is taking away the “want” moves by the offense and making them take only the last resort “need” moves, with the hope that your teammates will pick up that move and make the offense find another “need” move. Once the dominos start falling, the reactions happen fast and if one guy fails, there is a score. Now, with Golden State, they convert the need moves pretty well, so trust can be lost as an individual may not trust enough not to try and protect against the need move itself and thereby give up the want move, which should be the first priority. So if you get that, let’s move on.

Steph and Klay were raised in the game. Not just the game of basketball, but the game of success as played in the US. (Every nation has a different game of success, just ask the India Indians, the Saudis, the Brits, the Germans, etc.) S and K, as they will now be called, know the US game from watching their dads and other role models who got it. They are different from LeBron as a result. They trust themselves in that game, and in the game of basketball, and they can be trusted by others who are in the game. In Cleveland, we know that Smith now trusts who he is with, and it has been a journey for him to get there. He would run through a brick wall for LeBron. Would he, however, do that for Love (nice pun?)? Maybe he would do it for Liu more than he would for the previous coach, but LeBron is his key trust focus. I use him only because it is an easy example. I don’t know the end game, but we shall see if those on the Cleveland team can hold on to the trust they seem to have acquired this year. Under pressure is the true measurement.

In battle, it comes out, real battle, and soldiers who have fought side by side, and died side by side will confirm this, just like a wolf could if they had the where with all to even consider not trusting. In the pack, life is spent experiencing the trust as that is the game that nation practices, regardless of locale, and they kick out the lone wolf that will not trust.

Last thought, perhaps, Rodman could always be trusted on the team, but Rodman’s upbringing resulted in what is known as Attachment Disorder such that he could not trust anyone outside his team. His early trust had been betrayed too many time such that deep down inside he could not stand the pain of extending trust. The Pistons were his family, until he got divorced from his wife, then the Disorder was reinforced once again. I am not a psychologist, but I play one on the internet.

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