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Essay by Lionel Hollins, New Advisory Board Member >>

What I Do Isn't Who I Am

by Lionel Hollins, Head Coach Memphis Grizzlies and PCA National Advisory Board Member
Photo: Joe Murphy (NBAE/Getty Images)

Brett Favre, Allen Iverson, etc...the list is long. Athletes not being able to face the real world of relative irrelevancy. From an over-indulgent life of excess and narcissism as an overhyped sports star hero, to father, husband, carpooling dad.

A classic example of your job becoming your identity...Bill Russell is often criticized for saying, "I'm not a basketball player; it's not who I am, it's what I do. I am a man!"  It's true. We are not defined by what we do but who we are as a person.

Our world is full of immature men who are idolized for their exploits in sports and business! Believing what we do is who we are. We have to learn to grow up, and society has to allow it. Bogus behavior shouldn't be ignored simply because you run faster, shoot straighter, jump higher, hit the ball harder, or throw it faster, create a new product, or build a company from nothing to something great.

You are no more important just because your God-given talents are in arenas that are watched by millions and written about on a daily basis.

Sports was an extracurricular activity for exercise, the development of character and teaching of basic life skills -- teamwork, work ethic, perseverance, patience, overcoming adversity, and fair play -- through competition.

Money has obviously changed that, on every level. We see kids ignoring a college experience to jump to a man's world -- where they are immature mentally and socially -- even when the physical talent isn't developed to the level necessary to be REALLY successful. We want it on the field, right now, at the first glimpse of greatness. But you wouldn't want a doctor to operate without the benefit of his residency time, no matter how talented he is perceived to be.

One kid has even forsaken his high school senior year to turn pro overseas. How ludicrous is this? Parents, wake up! This is a life with potential; nurture and develop values that are sustaining. Lay a foundation for success, built on solid ground, not of failure, built on sand. Talent isn't everything.

There is a responsibility that goes with success. There are many examples of "talented" people failing, leaving everyone wondering why they didn't succeed. Every excuse is analyzed, every coach scrutinized for his development or lack of development of said athlete. Without realizing that their unconditional idolization -- and lack of discipline, responsibility and accountability -- is really at the root of that immaturity, and ultimately, failure.

Money is not the panacea to all of one’s problems. Even if you have enough, all your troubles don’t disappear. You need balance, self control, values, and an understanding of how to manage it, before you get it!

Once a child's youth is gone he can't get it back. Then it is time for adult decisions and actions. Responsibilities and expectations are greater. The obligations of being a man or a woman take precedence. In Ecclesiastes, it says there is a time and a season for everything...let's keep things in perspective, and in their due time and season.

Teach your young athlete how to be a giver, rather than a taker...a man or woman for others! A community server, helping to make the world a better place one community and neighborhood at a time. That is what is important, using God's gifts and blessings to be a blessing for others!
Category: National

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