Player Empowerment

As a former boy’s high school basketball coach I am watching the NBA’s situation with Kevin Durant with amusement. I am also watching the load management situation amused. Both situations are out of control.

My coaching career was in the eighties and nineties. During that time I witnessed a changing of the athletes attitudes. As a coach I understood good players were what would make me a good coach. Also as a coach I believed I was an educator always looking for that teachable moment that could help my athletes in their lives.

During the nineties I saw a new game come into vogue. That was AAU basketball. This, I believed, was going to be a problem. The problem was the coaches. Most coaches I came in contact with were trying to win. Winning would help those coaches gain more power. This meant they needed to recruit and keep the best players. Most of these coaches were not educators and they became a very influential part of their star athlete’s life.

This was not high school basketball, so the athletes could move on if they weren’t happy with their coaches. The coaches would always bend to whatever their star players wanted. The star athletes understood they had the upper hand and took advantage of it. They began to tell their coach who to play and what to do. Most times the coach, wanting to keep his star, allowed it.

Coaches coach, Players play

As a coach I always believed that I coached and the players played. I listened to their suggestions and often did them but ultimately I believed the coach made the final decision.

Watching the Durant situation and load management confirmed the fears I had back then. I am all for the players making the money they make but in order to be successful a team needs to establish a hierarchy. Once the player begins to make decisions the team and winning is doomed.

I think it’s no surprise that organizations like the Heat, Warriors and Celtics, among a few others, have success. These organizations still adhere to the hierarchy that I previously mentioned.

Kevin Durant asking the Nets to fire their coach and general manager appears to be overstepping his bounds. Kevin Durant wanted James Harden, wanted the Nets to fire Kenny Atkinson, and liked Steve Nash. It was Kevin Durant that signed a four year contract to play for the Nets. Now he wants to be traded. Kevin Durant grew up in that AAU era, are you surprised.

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