Link – click here
Very good interview with Tyson Chandler. I particularly enjoyed the Bill Russell part of the conversation; how Tyson looks at how he played and tries to improve his own understanding of the game. As well as the next question when Tyson talks about his mental focus on winning a title. Actually, I want to highlight that part.
Q: What was that like winning the NBA championship last year with the Mavericks?
A: I was so filled with emotions. … It was I think 45 seconds left in the game, and I almost took a knee — I wanted to cry. I wanted to just lay down, and just take in the moment. But the game wasn’t over. I kinda put my hand over my head and I was about to lose it, and I had to kinda like regather myself. I didn’t want to celebrate in front of the Heat players, so I wanted to congratulate them on a good season before I started my own celebration. And then, honestly, it took me a while for it to sink in, because that may have been the most focused I’ve ever been in my life, that it always felt like it was never over so I never celebrated. … We got through the first round, I didn’t celebrate; we got to the second round, we beat the Lakers; we got to the Western Conference Finals, we beat the Thunder, I didn’t celebrate. It’s like, “It’s not over, stay focused.” It was hard for me to break that mental concentration, in all honesty. I’ve never been through anything like that in my life, it was almost like I couldn’t get out of it. It took me a long time into the lockout before I actually let my guards down and started to really appreciate what we had just accomplished.
That there, the whole passage and the highlighted one especially, is the tunnel vision of a Champion. The type of mental commitment, focus, to the task at hand.
I have a theory which I’d like to expand on a bit here after reading that passage:
I believe it’s more fatiguing than the physical aspect of playing for a title. I think some players underestimate the value of getting away from basketball and re-charging their batteries in the summer in order to fully commit to type of mentally draining focus on a title next season.
Relating it back to Bill Russell — by no intention of the interview or Tyson — from reading about Russell and his own words, I think it is something Russell understood better than anyone else and played a significant role in his relentless winning for all those years.
Russell, or his teams who he was the emotional leader of, never burned out like the Lakers did last year (and so many players/teams have done before). He managed to maintain that mental commitment, that focus, that tunnel vision, that is so fatiguing and he did so by getting away from basketball and getting proper rest allowing him to give the same focus and commitment to the next challenge as he did the first.
I think several of today’s players underestimate just how mentally draining a challenge for a title can be + how valuable rest in the summer is before getting ready to give it another go. To offer that mental dedication, that sole focus, to the task at hand. To push themselves to their mental limit of they can do.
Back to the interview, it’s a really good read. Worth checking out.