Bernie Anderson
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the blog

Current musings, whatever they may be. 

Slam-Dunking Golden Boys

Basketball is huge at the moment. March madness and all.

I do remember discussions around this tournament when I was in 8th grade, a time when I didn’t follow basketball at all (I still don’t, really). Most of the conversations were around moments. Towering, massive dunks.

“That time that NC Tarheel’s dude went flying over the heads of everyone, caught a pass to himself, banked off the bleachers and slammed it home, shattering the backboard.”

(I’m pretty sure that never happened, but that’s what the conversation sounded like to me. As I said, I didn’t actually know anything about basketball at the time).

It was 8th-grade amateur conversations.

Amateurs value isolated performances and 1-off achievements.

The slam dunk in basketball.
The Hail Mary in football.
The bicycle kick goal in soccer.
The break-out novel.
The billion-dollar start-up.

We love the “golden boy” with the Midas touch who sweeps on the scene and turn everything into gold, rainbows, unicorns.

We’re impressed with the single moment of greatness.

But most people think like amateurs.

Professionals know that flashes of greatness happen. But behind every flash is months or years of hard work and deliberate practice.

The slam dunk is coupled with hours of dribbling drills and thousands of free-throws.

There is a way to tell if the golden boy, towering slam-dunker is actually a professional.

A professional doesn’t care about 1-off, isolated performances.

A professional cares about consistency.