What has Kawhi Leonard has brought to the City of Toronto and the Toronto Raptors and the country of Canada which embraces his heartwarming approach to life? Living in the moment and embracing it (if not showing it outwardly).
Kawhi did let a little emotion burst out when he dropped that 4 bouncer in Game 6 to knock off the 76ers. But minutes after that mini celebration, it was on to the next task. Who is next and what do we have to do to prepare to succeed over them.
Kawhi, his adopted fans and the team that embraces his leadership approach came out of the first 2 games of the NBA Finals with a split. Not ideal for the Raptors team against such a dominant dynasty as the Golden State Warriors. The team had just given up home-court advantage. Dwell on this and feel sorry for yourself? NO, not Kawhi!
So their Rookie Head Coach Nick Nurse before Game 3 encourages his team of overachievers to resecure this perceived advantage by back taking 1 of the 2 games in Oakland. Kawhi is reported to have piped in “NO…..We have got to win both”. And that they did. The Game 2 loss was put into proper context by accepting it, compartmentalizing it and to return to living in the moment.
While Game 5 the other night witnessed the team shoot very poorly from distance, resulting rookie coach Nurse who has charted a course the team had not charted in 25 years was being raked over the coals for “using a little know 2-year-old rule to Use it before you Lose it” to call a time out at what many of the unwashed, clearly uneducated did not know. His guys despite being on a run (where you never call a time-out on yourself) were in need of a breather so he decided to use a timeout before he lost it, heading into the final 3 minutes.
Despite all of this…. the team lost Gane 5 by a single point to the dynastic Warriors.
You have to lose to be great and to think that this team was going to knock off such a dynasty in 5 games while possible, was not probable.
Could they have played better? Yes. BUT do each and every one of us play at 100% each and every moment? No! So accept the coach for empowering his team to do what they do best in the final seconds of the game.
We must accept as in life that you will be dealt with losses. There are winners and losers. The best way to learn and get better is to lose….not win.
- Stop with all of the participation medals
- Stop playing games without scoring
- Teach your children that it is OK to lose
- Be prepared for a loss at virtually every juncture of your life
Kawhi it and rebound from these to embrace and enjoy life.
So Kawhi and the Team he empowers and influences with his actions (and as a man of few words) is a leader unlike any this team has seen in a quarter of e century.
- Yes, he is a big man.
- Yes he understands the value of preparation
- Yes he is strong
But he accepts that there is a place for a loss. It happens. Accept it. Move on to the next task!
He embraces the adage it is not over until you have that final win under your belt and “We are the Champions” plays from the rooftops. Then celebrate being at the top of one of the most difficult mountains to climb. Accept the Larry O’Brien trophy and that losing creates winners.
Kawhi Leonard embodies leadership in every way, especially accepting losses are a part of greatness.