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Week of 12/25 Discussion Questions

Updated: Dec 26, 2022

1 - Lexi Brown | Playing Time

2 - Isiah Thomas | The Courage to Coach Me

3 - Kelvin Sampson | Learn How to Compete

4 - DJ Sackman | Responding to Adversity

5 - Kevin Garnett | Shooting is Fundamental


Lexi Brown is a professional basketball player. She played at the University of Maryland and Duke before becoming the 9th pick in the WNBA draft.

But coming into the WNBA, she didn’t get a lot of playing time. She was asked, “What did you learn in your first year that made you better?”

Lexi said, “You have to handle all situations with grace because you never know what is going to happen.” She then said that at the end of the season, her coach told her that he was impressed with the way that she handled the season and that she remained one of the hardest workers on the team even though she knew she wasn’t going to get in the game. Lexi was still getting in the gym, coming early, and staying after. She said that she had moments where she could have handled situations better, but for the most part, she was a good teammate, the fans loved her on the bench, and that no matter how annoyed or upset she was on the inside, she didn’t want to bring that energy.


1 - Have you ever been in that situation where you weren’t getting the opportunities that you wanted?

2 - How did you handle it?

3 - What advice would you give to someone who isn’t playing as much as they want?

4 - How do you want to be remembered by your teammates and coaches?


Isiah Thomas is an NBA champion, MVP, and Hall of Famer. When asked how he was able to play for coach Bob Knight, here is what Isiah Thomas said:

“Now that I’m older, I’m so happy and glad that Coach Knight had the COURAGE to coach me, and to have a CONFRONTATION with me. He wasn’t trying to be my friend; we didn’t have friend coaches. The coaches now want to be your friend; they don’t want to coach you. To really get the best out of what you have, somebody has to pull it out of you and there has to be a little confrontation. I appreciate Coach Knight because he wasn’t afraid to have a confrontation with me.”


1 - What is your biggest takeaway from this video?

2 - How do you like your coaches to hold you accountable?

3 - Do you think confrontation is necessary?

4 - What do you need from your coaches and teammates to get the best out of you?


Kelvin Sampson is a big-time division 1 basketball coach. He currently coaches at the University of Houston. Here is what he said about competing, culture, and helping others in an interview:

“The first thing I do is teach these kids how to compete. If you aren’t playing hard and not competing, I’m going to let you know about it.

When you see programs that are good, year in and year out, it usually starts with the culture you build, and getting kids to buy into that culture.

When it's our time to go, what have you done to make somebody else’s life better?”


1 - What is your biggest takeaway from the video?

2 - What does compete mean to you?

3 - How do you want your coaches to get you to compete?

4 - What is something you do, or can do, to make somebody else’s life better?


DJ Sackman is a trainer who works with NBA, college, and youth athletes. He said that he was watching a high school athlete and there were three college coaches there watching him play too. The athlete got two quick fouls, the coach took him out, and the athlete went to the bench and had his head down the entire time.

The college coaches were watching him, trying to figure out what he was going to do and how he was going to respond. DJ said that he could almost guarantee that he would not get a scholarship because of the way that he responded to adversity.

The message here is, respond appropriately and effectively to adversity. Adversity is a part of everyone’s journey. Sports are full of adversity. When you make a mistake, keep your head up, cheer on your teammates, and stay positive. People are watching how you respond to the good and the bad.


1 - What is your biggest takeaway from this video?

2 - College coaches are here to watch your teammate play, but they have to sit on the bench because of foul trouble. How would you advise them to handle themselves in that situation?

3 - Adversity is a part of everyone’s journey. How would someone who knows you say that you handle adversity?


I have three daughters, and they all play basketball and soccer. One of the things I am trying to teach them is the importance of mastering the fundamentals when it comes to two things: striking the soccer ball and shooting the basketball. Putting the ball in the net leads to success, and it takes time and good reps to master the basics that putting the ball in the net at a high level requires.

Kevin Durant is one of the best scorers in the history of the game, and this year he is shooting the ball particularly well. When asked about it, KD gives terrific insight on his shooting efficiency this season. He said, "The quality of shots, the looks that I'm getting, and the focus level of my fundamentals is what's keeping me there. I'm trying to focus on using my fundamentals every time I get a good look and I've started knocking them down. Just keep putting that work in in-between games and keep visualizing what you want to do out there and you'll be fine."

If you want to be great at anything, figure out what success looks and feels like, figure out what the fundamentals are, and take the time to master them.


1 - What is your biggest takeaway from the video?

2 - What is the most important fundamental that you need to master to take your game or career to the next level?

3 - What is a flaw in your fundamentals that you need to change in your game, and what can you do to do so?

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