It’s hard to get juiced up about pro basketball in the middle of football season and the baseball playoffs, but when the basketball season opened on Wednesday night, October 17, 2017, the Boston Celtics’ new star, Gordon Hayward, broke his leg in a gruesome manner, facing a long rehabilitation, and being out for the season. It’s a sad thing when your star goes out in the season’s first game.
The internet was alive with basketball fans and followers wishing the best for Hayward. The words of one well-wisher, Kobe Bryant, went viral. This is what he wrote:
“Be sad. Be mad. Be frustrated. Scream. Cry. Sulk. When you wake up, you will think it was just a nightmare, only to realize it’s all too real. You will be angry and wish for that day back, the game back, THAT play back. But reality gives nothing back, and nor should you.
Time to move on and focus on doing everything in your power to prepare for surgery, ask all the questions to be sure you understand the procedure fully so that you may visualize it in your subconscious while being operated on and better the chance of its success. Then focus on the recovery process day by day by day. It’s a long journey, but if you focus on the mini-milestones along the way, you will find beauty in the struggle of doing simple things that before this injury were taken for granted. This will also mean that when you return, you will have a new perspective. You will be so appreciative of being able to stand, walk, and run that you will train harder than you ever have. You see the belief within you grow with each mini-milestone, and you will come back a better player for it. Best of luck to you on this journey, my brother #mambamentality always.”
In his Hall of Fame career, Kobe was known for his fierce competitive nature and his will to succeed. He suffered a severe injury and recovered. He shared his experience with a fellow competitor. His nickname was “Mamba,” a quick-striking, venomous African snake known for its ferocity and lethal nature.
Breaking down his comments to Hayward, I see a recipe for resilience in the face of adversity:
In an enterprise like ours, many struggles are going on among us. People being treated for cancer. Children facing long medical battles. Families grieving the loss of loved ones. Business challenges. Financial challenges. You get my point. People are doing the work while living through the hard things in life.
Kobe Bryant’s advice resonated with me. I thought it might with you as well.