Sports and Entrepreneurship Blog Article

Young Players Are…Young

Ben Simmons and Young Business Professionals

I hear negative comments about young players in all sports, but most recently in basketball. People go at these players as if these kids are finished products—as if anybody is ever a finished product.

Take 22-year-old Ben Simmons, of the Philadelphia 76ers, a phenom by all accounts. He is playing his second year in the NBA now (he actually turned pro the year before last, but an injury kept him out of the game all last year), and the way many fans and media people go on, you’d think he was a bust—or, at best, a player who won’t reach his potential. His shooting isn’t great. He is a terrible free-throw shooter, and he won’t even risk a three-point shot.

Ben Simmons’ shooting form isn’t good, that’s true. He has a number of real flaws as a player. But then you watch him play, and you see him take over the game. He controls the floor, he gets to the hoop when he wants, he is a leader on the court, and he has a great understanding of the game. Yes, he has flaws, but at his age, he’s still doing a lot of developing.

I could say much the same about the young people at KazSource. Do they miss their free throws sometimes or show some reluctance about taking the big shot? Sure. But they get their chances because we know they’re growing. The veterans on the team provide guidance and, sometimes, pick up some slack. Meanwhile, these young people bring their own individual gifts to the business, and we are stronger as a team because they are here.

It’s not that we’ll tolerate anything at all just because someone is young. Even interns need to meet certain minimum standards, and some people just aren’t a good fit for our team. But we’re not going to judge someone on their first day as if their performance is going to stay that way forever—we’re not going to judge someone on their 10,000th day as if they couldn’t change, either.

It’s a balancing act. On the one hand, there is the importance of maintaining standards, while on the other hand there is the recognition that each of us is a work in progress. It’s important to maintain both at once.

The 76er organization will have to make similar decisions about Ben Simmons. If he can’t or won’t improve his free-throw percentage, he will have to go elsewhere—but if teams didn’t take a chance on young players, there would never be any basketball superstars. Ben Simmons has the potential to be such a superstar. It’s too early to know, yet.

It’s too early to know for any of us. We’re all works in progress. And if we can give each other a chance, some of us could turn out to be superstars.

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Where is this coming from? Real Self-Talk Moment:

As I described in the article “There’s A Lot of Self-Talk in SportsEpreneur Content“, much of the ideas for articles and podcasts come from the thoughts I have as a leader in KazSource. And this article is no different.

First, I was hearing individuals talk about Ben Simmons and other young NBA players, but then it had me thinking about the team at KazSource…

This article allowed me to get outside of my world and look at an extreme–an NBA basketball player. From there I could think through my expectations of people on my team and self-talk myself to re-understanding the truths in this article.