Have you been watching the NBA Finals? Even if you haven’t you’ve probably seen an unfamiliar name trending on twitter and featured in the highlights on ESPN. Former Tar Heel Danny Green is literally setting Finals records with a 3-point shooting display beyond imagination. He passed “being on fire” around game 3 and it now flat out getting buckets. Everyone is surprised….but me….and Danny Green.
It’s been well documented, but Danny was drafted in the second round out of The University of North Carolina (pause for respect….) by the Cleveland Cavaliers. That’s right, my favorite NBA team drafted one of the all-time favorite Tar Heels. Then they buried him on the bench. Even though Lebron needed “help,” they rarely used Danny.
Then they cut him.
The Spurs eventually picked him up and he got some burn. Then they sent him to the “D League.” Then they cut him. Then they brought him back. To Danny’s credit, he kept fighting. To the Spurs credit, they realized what they had in Danny. Now it’s a perfect fit and Danny is gaining the recognition he has earned. So what can we learn from this? Personally, I’m taking lots of notes….
1. Stay with what got you there – Danny Green hitting 3’s is nothing new. He lit up the Dean Dome for the Tar Heels. He also played exceptional defense. Because of his shooting, no one is talking about how he’s guarded the other teams top scorer in every series. Although he got bounced around, he always stayed true to what his gifts and talents were. He just needed to be in the right place at the right time. So do we.
2. Your day will come. – When Danny got cut, he could have trashed the Cavs and later the Spurs. He could have complained because he knew he belonged. He knew he could contribute and make a real difference. He never complained. He didn’t burn bridges. He didn’t make it his job to point out their errors. He went to work. He worked hard. Now his day has come. How foolish do the Cavaliers look right now? A team that is struggling to acquire talent is watching a guy they cut light up arguably the top team in the NBA. Your day will come. Don’t feel like you need to even the score. Your day will come. Let your talents and ability speak for itself. It will be louder than anything you could have ever said. As the saying goes…”The best revenge is massive success.”
3. Stay humble – In the midst of all of this success, Danny’s first response in interviews is to give God credit. So many players in the NBA feel like it’s their duty to remind people how great they are. The theatrics are foolish. Danny is shooting nearly 70% from 3 in the Finals. Each shot is followed by a simple 3 fingers at his side. Subtle. Humble. When your success comes, stay humble, stay hungry. It could be gone again tomorrow. Remember where it comes from.
4. Don’t let others decisions knock you off course - Decisions by those in authority can derail a career. Danny could be somewhere doing something completely different right now. He could have taken the decisions of others and allowed them to change his course. But he knew he belonged. He knew what he could provide the right team. You know that too. You know how God wired you and what you can offer. Don’t allow someone else’s decision to steal that. Take that talent where it’s recognized and allow the results to tell your story.
5. Ignore the critics – I have always believed in Danny Green. There are people who have always believed in you too. I bet Danny Green has no idea who I am and never will. You may not know who your biggest supporters are. The critics are easier to find. Know there are those that believe in you and when success comes, allow them to honor your commitment to getting there. Ignore the critics.
I have never cared if the Heat or Spurs win this series. I have just wanted success for Danny Green. I am thrilled for him and wish him continued success throughout his career. He’s earned it. He deserves it. You do too.