I was born and raised in Atlanta, and I remember watching the Hawks back in the day on TBS when Dominique Wilkins was our star player and, for a moment, I believed that I could play in the NBA.
I would hang his posters on my wall and close a wire hanger at the top of my bedroom door and work on dunks all night using a sock as a basketball.
He earned the nickname “The Human Highlight Reel” because of his powerful dunks. Make no mistake about it, he was a legit scorer, but he never had enough skilled players around him to get us to the Conference Finals. He did, however, lead us to the Conference Semi-Finals four times.
If the Hawks win tonight against the 76ers, we will advance to the 2021 NBA Conference Finals. I watched the Hawks’ first four games this season and swore on my life that we would go deep in the playoffs. Then they lost game five, and like a fair-weather fan, I bailed on them.
Once they got on a roll mid-March, I was wearing my Hawks gear again, along with my brand new Trae Young x Top Ten High ‘Ice Trae’s.’
Since then, they finished 5th in the Eastern Conference, and they have taught me how to F.I.G.H.T.
Coaches ask their players to focus all the time, but it’s not something that you can just do. You have to be trained to focus. Focus is a skill, and a skill is something that you do well repeatedly without thought while under stress.
Motivation is internal, and inspiration is external. The Hawks inspire each other to believe in their own personal skills and trust each other to perform as a team.
The Urban Dictionary has a great definition of grind. For me, only convicted people can grind. Being convicted moves you to act in a spiritual/soulful way. It’s beyond “putting your mind to it” and “blood, sweat, and tears.”
Hustle is the fuel for the grind. To hustle is the ability to make things happen when things are not going your way. It cannot be taught, but it can be caught.
Talk less. Fight more.
Talk is cheap, and everybody can afford it.
My wife, Kelli, and I are the co-founders of L.E.A.D., Inc. (Launch, Expose, Advise, Direct). L.E.A.D. is a 501 (c)3 nonprofit organization operating in Atlanta, Georgia. Through our year-round Pathway2Empowerment, sport-based youth development (SBYD) programming, we inspire and equip Black males with the empowerment they need to live sustainable lives of significance.
Our mission is to empower an at-risk generation to lead and transform their city of Atlanta by using the sport of baseball to teach Black boys how to overcome three curveballs that threaten their success: crime, poverty, and racism.
Our vision is to develop Black boys into Ambassadors who will lead their City of Atlanta to lead the world.
As the Chief Visionary Officer, my job is to be the face of the organization. I cast a vision for us that is so crazy and possibly improbable that people want to join us to help make it become a reality for the betterment of Atlanta, our state, our country, and the world.
Whether the Hawks make it to the Eastern Finals or beyond this year, they have modeled for me the right way to F.I.G.H.T.
Now, if they win it all, I’m going to be decked out in Hawks gear and say that at the beginning of the season, I said a resounding “This Is Our Year!” in my house. 😀
Go Hawks, F.I.G.H.T.✊🏿