"A" for Effort: Golden Redemption


Company name: National Basketball Association or NBA

Job Title: Basketball Player

Job description:

  • To put a leathery sphere through an 18 inch circle that is hung 10 feet in the air
  • You will get more or less points depending on how far away you throw the sphere

Minimum qualifications:

  • Ability to catch, pass, and bounce the sphere
  • Experience with spheres a plus
  • Ability to run for 38-48 minutes straight, with breaks in between
  • Heavy lifting (100+ lbs.) is involved

Preferred Qualifications:

  • Tall and strong body frame
  • Long arms are a plus
  • Excellent oral communication skills
  • Effective team player
  • Ability to improvise and read situations

Send a resume and cover letter to adamsilver@nba.com.

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It’s interesting to think of the sports we watch as someone’s regular ol’ day job. For the casual fan, sports are our window into a fantastical world, away from reality, much like how a moviegoer feels sitting in a darkened movie theatre. 

Yet to the athletes who play them, sports are their lives, their sources of income, their jobs! They have families to support, bills to pay, and their own work problems that they need to face everyday. 

Each sport has it’s own requirements and qualifications that the athletes must adhere to in order to keep their jobs, much like in the real world. As a “regular person,” in comparison to the athletes I watch and adore, I’ve never thought about sports as a career path. It’s more of a form of entertainment, something that I get into AFTER my work is done. 

But I’ve noticed a major similarity between an ordinary citizen’s job and the job of an athlete that makes a huge difference: effort is everything, regardless of your career.

When asked after practice what the team had done and not done in Games 3 and 4, Green responded with “We’re not competing. We haven’t competed the last two games. We’ve competed in spurts but not at the level that you need to compete at to win at this point in the season, especially not on the road. So we gotta compete and have fun, that’s the two most important things for us.”

Now imagine yourself at your office, or your film set, or wherever your work site is. Imagine if there was a group of reporters asking you about your progress at work and what you’ve done and not done the past couple weeks. Your response could be, “I’m just not competing, not putting in the effort. There’s a promotion coming up and Tom from accounting has been on a roll these past couple weeks. He’s been writing detailed memos, staying late after work, and I just haven’t been working as hard as him. I’ve gotta compete and have fun, those are the two most important things for me.”

In Games 3 and 4 in OKC, the Warriors as a whole looked sluggish and uninterested, which equaled two sloppy and embarrassing losses at the hands of “Tom from accounting.” 

Game 5 in Oakland last night was a completely different story. Draymond Green looked like his old self again, blocking shots and running up and down the floor, while Andrew Bogut and Marreese Speights, the Warriors big men, played out of their minds. 

Before the game, Steve Kerr challenged Bogut to keep from fouling in order to be able to stay on the floor. Bogut accepted this challenge and played 30 minutes, the most he’s played since April 4th when the Warriors lost in OT to the Minnesota Timberwolves. He pulled in a game high 14 rebounds, the most he’s had in these playoffs, and had a few dunks that erupted the Oracle crowd.

Speights came off the bench for only 9 minutes but put in a tremendous effort. He scored 14 points on 4-7 shooting, even splashing a three pointer, and hit all 5 of his free throw attempts. He only had two rebounds but they were both offensive and led to immediate and1s for the man known as “Mo Buckets.”

Competing harder against your opponent does not mean you automatically win. If that were the case, then Tom from accounting would have gotten that promotion easily over my hypothetical office-working self. Damn that mathematical genius!

Getting back to hoops, Game 5 was a completely different game because the Warriors simply outplayed the Thunder. It was incredibly close all the way through and the Warriors almost gave the game away in the final moments, thanks to some sketchy passes. The competition was fierce but the Dubs had that little extra force on the gas pedal that gave them the win.

Golden State now heads to Oklahoma City for Game 6 on Saturday and I’m hoping their foot is still on the gas pedal. They’re going to need it, as their last two visits to Chesapeake Energy Arena were complete nightmares. 

Go Dubs.

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