Kevin Eastman: Destiny or Choice

KEVIN EASTMAN2 Now that teams all over the country are into February, many teams probably feel they are destined for something. There are those that feel they have a magical season going and they are destined for post season success. Then there’s the reverse, with some teams having a tough year and feeling they are destined to lose this year.

I would suggest that you think about the word destiny and compare it to the word choice. People kept saying that we were a team of destiny in 2008. But we believed that we were not going to leave our season up to some outside force known as destiny. We felt strongly that we had a choice in the outcome of our season. We felt strongly that we needed to control our performance game in and game out. We felt strongly that we had a choice in whether we would play as a team or play selfishly. We felt strongly that we had a choice to focus on defense or to just concern ourselves with scoring. Simply put: we told our team that we are a team of choice and not a team of destiny. We only wanted to leave the results up to us and us only!

If you’re having a tough year, your players can’t allow themselves to believe that you were snake bitten or you were destined to lose. Instead, make sure they know they have the choice to prepare for every game like a winner, to practice every day like a winner, to improve their strength like a winner. Regardless of the game’s outcome, players have a choice to conduct and carry themselves like the winners they hope to become.

In 2006 our record was 24-58, one of the worst records in the NBA. But if you came to our practices or you listened to Doc talk to our team, you would never have thought that. Every day that year we continued to develop habits that would lead to success. We had a choice to believe we were destined to lose or to create winning habits that would eventually lead to winning results. Granted, we were able to add two very significant parts to our team, but the next year we were 66-16 and NBA World Champions. Kendrick Perkins and Rajon Rondo were important parts of that championship run and their success was nurtured during the 24-win season because Doc Rivers would not allow us to choose the destiny excuse.

I just encourage those of you who may be in one of these two situations to think about your approach. Too often the outside influences on our players will talk to them about destiny, so you have to make sure they know that they do have the option — to let outside influences and luck dictate results, or to choose to control their destiny!

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