The Best Players Celebrate The Little Things

At the Maya Moore Academy camp in Minneapolis this week

At the Maya Moore Academy camp in Minneapolis this week

My favorite basketball quote in history comes from NBA legend Bill Walton.

"Basketball is not a sport, it's a celebration of life."

At our Maya Moore Academy event this week at the Life Time Fitness- Crosstown in Minneapolis, never was Walton's quote more attributable. 

From my perspective, the most memorable part of the six-hour camp did not happen on the court. It happened off it during our educational seminar featuring Maya and one of our camp directors, Scott Savor. Scott and Maya passionately outlined key principals to becoming a great basketball player, inspiring our young campers to write feverish notes in their Jordan journals.

There were a number of quotes and nuggets I also jotted down. But there was one principal from Maya I underlined multiple times with my pen.

Celebrate The Little Things

Celebrating with teammates after a game-winning shot is a given.  Celebrating with a teammate who just scored a tough basket in the lane is easy. Celebrating a nasty dunk over a defender? Come on...those are big things.

But when did you last celebrate the little things with a teammate? A well-executed back-door screen? A fundamental box-out for a rebound? A sprint back on defense?  

Imagine a teammate's face if you give them a Run-And-Bump when they simply substitute in for you?

Celebrating the little things and sharing positivity also boosts performance. A study by Brandeis University using sophisticated eye-tracking technology has shown that positive emotions broaden people's visual attention.  One practical consequence of positivity's mind-broadening power is enhanced creativity. Evidence shows that simply receiving a small act of positivity can make a difference in the ease with which people locate creative and optimal solutions to the problems they face.

So, adding positivity to your team is good strategy. It may lead to a teammate finding a creative solution to break a double-team. Or making a ridiculous, between-the-legs bounce pass to fool a defender.

Celebrating the little things is also good for the soul and should transcend beyond the basketball court.  Forget about celebrating your statistical performance and simply celebrate you're healthy enough to play the game.  Celebrate the fact you have four other teammates on the floor who want to go to battle with you. Celebrate your family who make small sacrifices each day so you can play the greatest game ever invented. 

Celebrate the little things. And most importantly, as Bill Walton reminds us, celebrate life.