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Reality Check

A lecture from Kobe Bryant’s personal trainer, Mike Procopio, shared by Coach Lason Perkins.  Found on George Ravelings Website.

Mike Procopio

I’m going to give you something that at your age is more important than oxygen and that’s the truth. There’s too much fluff given to young people today, especially in the world of high level sports. Right now you are on top of the world for basketball players in your state. For some of you this is the best that is going to get and there is nowhere to go but down. You may think I’m crazy but that is the reality of basketball.

All of you want to make money playing basketball, but only about 20 or so out of the 80 players here will ever do so. Some of you will get hurt, some of you will struggle early and get recruited over, some of you will have struggles with academics and attitude issues, and some of you just won’t be good enough. There are two types of not good enough, there’s the not talented enough not good enough and there is the never reached your potential good enough. The first one is what it is and the second one plagues thousands of players a year. There’s nothing worse than wasted talent, remember that.

A lot of you are thinking “this fat dude is crazy I’m going to make it no doubt”. Well lets put it this way, think of your playing talent as an Ipad. Four years ago everyone wanted one and needed to have it. You saw it on tv, on the internet, and every member of the media writing about it. What happened 15 months later?? The Ipad 2 came out and most people forget all about the Ipad 1 thinking it was obsolete and not as shinny or had the bells and whistles that the ipad 2. Now the original Ipad had value to some and didn’t need the new Ipad because theirs did the trick and had value to them. But all of those people that were craving for the Ipad1 15 months ago, left it behind. It’s the same with basketball players, the players that are hot today, many are forgotten about a year from now and there is a new crop of basketball players that people are wanting. You need to develop value for yourself and keep your game relevant..

You see the 80 of you that are sitting here today, I’ll look into the future basketball wise and tell you what I see. After a year in college 10 of you wont be relevant anymore and will become average players that will spend 4 years on the bench or transfer schools. By year two probably another 15 of you will suffer the same fait as better players will come in to your program and take your spot leaving you to the same fait as the 10 players before. By the end of the four years about 30 or so of you will be good enough to play basketball for money from $400.00 a week in the minor league, to 10-12 thousand dollars a month playing overseas to making a few million dollars a year in the NBA. Out of the 30 probably 10 of you will make steady money playing basketball out of college.

The idea that you need to take home from this talk is don’t trust anyone. In the real world it’s you against the world. The same people that are tweeting about you being so good as a player will be the same person calling for your replacement. Life is about getting things done not about living in the past. You make your own luck in life by your God given talent, work ethic, and your character.

Why do players that waste their talent fail?

1.) Lack of Preparation never learn how to play your position
2.) Bad attitude , bad teammate, un-coachable
3.) Listen to people around you, friends and family that have no prior knowledge or experience on how to develop a basketball player and give you bad advice

I work with the best basketball player in the world, besides his God given talents do you know why Kobe is successful??

1.) Doesn’t waste his time. Everything he does has a purpose to better himself and his career
2.) He works harder than anyone else
3.) Keeps his mind, body, and game sharp
4.) Has no time in his life to have hanger ons and people in his inner circle that doesn’t bring value to him. No posse no crew.

At this stage of your basketball career you have to develop value for yourself. Develop a skill that will separate yourself from the rest. Stop dreaming of becoming the next Kobe Bryant or Kevin Durant. Dream about being the next Jodie Meeks, Channing Frye, or Kenny Farried. Everyone wants to be Kobe, but no one ever wants to put the work in like he does. So many people think they can just get on a court and emulate him. No one understands the countless hours he spends working on the things that make him a winning basketball player. Another example of young people wanting something without putting in the work it takes to acquire it.

Understand this there are 420 players in the NBA. About ten of them are irreplaceable. Those players are Kobe Bryant, Kevin Durant, LeBron James, DeRon Williams, Chris Paul, Dwight Howard,Andrew Bynum, Kevin Love, Dwyane Wade, and Derrick Rose. After that there are about 25-30 High level all-star level players that are in very high demand. After that every one else is replaceable.

You need to develop a skill that is desirable by coaches and scouts. Scoring 25 points on 22 shots is not a skill. There are 1,000 players in the country that can do that. You need to develop something that will help a coach win games. Your games up to this point has made me physically ill. Everything is over dribbling, bad shots, no passing, no looks to the post, and no defense. That is a problem today as no one has a skill other than dominating the basketball and scoring points. Here are some skills that you can develop to help your team win.

Shot-maker

Rebounder

Run a Team

Defender

All of these things are skills that teams need. Once you are in then you can work on developing your craft. You need to aim high no doubt about it, but too many players want to be the elite and when they fall short can’t be happy being a role player.

Why am I so blunt to you ?? Because I have n time for losers. I’m tired of dealing with players that have talent, but never want to learn how to play and when they don’t make it try to blame everyone but themselves. It’s always a coach or someone else’s fault and to be honest I’m tired of hearing it. Basketball is a game of survival of the fittest. You are either good enough or you aren’t. Coaches need players that are going to help them win games not players that don’ want to learn, be coached,, or work. Don’t live on what you have accomplished today. Another thing why is it none of you want to talk or have a relationship with your coach. The problem is you think you’re too cool for it or never can talk to people older than you. The problem is if you don’t do it now, you’ll never be able to talk and open up to your bosses, which will cause big problems for you. Too many young people today are incapable of carrying conversations with people. Here is some advice start now as it won’t get better in time unless you start. This will teach you to talk to people civilly when you have issues with them, enabling you to talk things out with people and resolve small issues that will turn into big issues in time.

You can’t take trophies, articles written about you, or rankings into a tryout. The only thing that you can bring is your talent. At this time of your life you should be developing these skills.

1.) How to be on time

2.) How to work hard and be prepared

3.) How to be a coachable and a good teammate

4.) How to battle through adversity

If you are willing to commit to these four things you’ll not only be a success on the basketball floor but you’ll be a success in life. When most of you stop playing basketball when you are done with college these four things will help you in life when you have to actually get a job and survive in the workplace . In this awful economy do you think a boss will let you get away with being late? You know what happens?? Fired. Your boss has fifty resumes on file with people begging to work, do you think for a second they wont fire you?? Wrong.. Do you think your boss will let you get away with not being prepared and allow you to get in at 9 and leave at 5 when your co-workers are staying late and continually prepared?? Nope you’re fired. Do you think that your boss will let you be disrespectful to them or your co workers?? Nope you’re fired. When things get hard and start going bad at work and you hide from the adversity do you think you’ll hold your job? Nope… Fired.

I know these are things that you may have never heard before, but it’s important to understand how the system works. Nothing is given to you in the real world you need to work hard and earn everything you get. You are in a generation of finger pointers where when things don’t go your way instead of picking yourself up and getting back in the fight you run and hide and blame everyone else but yourself. Look yourselves in the mirror and understand that life is hard, there will be bumps in the road the way you deal with those bumps will determine how successful that you are in life. Stop blaming everyone else and start holding yourself accountable.

Good luck today and God Bless.

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