During my basketball playing days, I possessed a thorough lack of confidence. I carried myself like my ego resembled the state of Texas in size, but I always worried. I thought my teammates were all more talented. I thought my opponents were even more talented than that. I thought my coaches would hate me for every mistake. I thought if I missed three shots in a row, the fourth was going to miss too.
Outwardly, I looked calm and sure of myself. But in reality, a storm took place inside my brain every time I stepped on a basketball court. The storm would rip down trees inside me. Chunks of hail rained down from the heavens. Thunder and lightning would kaboom and sizzle. A proverbial dog would sprint to hide under tables because of the storm’s ferocity. The storm raged inside me every time I played basketball in an organized setting, until the day I quit my college basketball team.
After that moment, my confidence never wavered again.
I no longer judged my own self worth by how I performed in a basketball game. Basketball no longer mattered so much to me, so I was freed to be confident. I was freed to miss three consecutive shots and shoot the fourth like it was destined to be a swish. Because hell, even if I missed it, who cared?
Shira Springer of the Boston Globe wrote a very nice piece on Jeff Green that published today. The quote that ends the story made me think that maybe, just maybe, his confidence was freed by having heart surgery.
“Before the surgery, my whole focus was basketball,” said Green. “With the snap of a finger, it was taken away from me. The surgery allowed me to sit back and think that basketball is not going to be there forever.”
Is Green like I am, in that he lacked true confidence in himself? Is he like I am, in that a certain moment stopped his habit of judging his entire self worth by basketball, thereby allowing him to play basketball freely and without such a tremendous amount of worry? Will he miss three consecutive shots this year and still shoot the fourth like it’s his team’s best available opportunity, because screw it, even if he misses, everything else in his life will still be alright?
I truly have no idea. But after he played so aggressively and confidently during the preseason, the possibility is at least worth discussing.