Earlier today, Ray Allen- one of the best shooters in NBA history - announced his retirement from basketball after 18 seasons in the form of a letter to his 13-year old self via The Player's Tribune. As a fan of his game, and career on and off the court, I decided to take a few minutes to read it, and I'm happy I did.
The entire article is done really admirably, and in a way where a lot of players can learn something from Allen's life, his struggles, and his triumphs. However, there were a few lines in particular that really captured my attention.
The first was when he was talking about the two NBA championships teams he was a part of, first with the Boston Celtics, and then with the Miami Heat. The pulse of the two teams, the personalities that made them the best in the league, and how they won were all very different, but they each had one thing in common:
I know you want me to let you in on some big secret to success in the NBA.
The secret is there is no secret.
It’s just boring old habits.
Great teams are made up of individuals who have great habits. As boring as those habits may be, they help forge a path of greatness when no one is watching. Each one of the teams that Allen was a part of had these individuals committed to the boring habits, and if you think about other championship level teams, and do some research, or think back to championship level teams you've been a part of, odds are you'll notice the same trend.
The second thing that Allen writes that really resonates with me is the sentence that he chooses to end the article with.
Most people will never really get to know the real you. But they’ll know your work.
I sat in silence and read that line over, and over, and over again at least 20 times. No joke. While it sums up his piece perfectly, I couldn't help but think how that also correlates to our lives as football coaches, and leaders of young men just as well. All the early mornings picking kids up to get them to morning workouts, all the time spent after practice breaking down film away from your family, and all the other sacrifices you make to help others, and the program, before yourself.
He's right. Most people will never get the chance to get to know the real you. But for better or worse, they'll know your work - or at least think they do. They'll see the product you put on the field on game day and many will judge you based on that.