(Image taken from Slam Online)
Last night, another batch of basketball legends and icons entered the Hall of Fame (HOF).
Every year, the Hall of Fame class featured individuals with immense and ridiculous levels of physical talent.
The Jordans, Shaqs and Magics were physically imposing on the court and dominated their opposition physical as well as mentally.
This year’s headliners, Jason Kidd, Ray Allen, Steve Nash and Grant Hall, were all basketball icons, but they showcased a different kind of talent.
They showed the importance of having the right mentality.
Here’s what you can learn about basketball or even sports from the headliners from the 2018 HOF Class.
When you think of Ray Allen, you think of his sweet shooting form.
He shot his way into a HOF career, particularly in the 2013 NBA Finals, where he made his world-renowned corner three.
Known to few in the current generation of basketball players, Allen was more than a jumpshooter.
In the late 90s and early 2000s, Allen was known as a fantastic finisher at the rim in Milwaukee.
In fact, he even participated in the 1997 Slam Dunk Contest.
(Side Note: He also acted in one of the better basketball films in history, as Jesus Shuttlesworth in 1998’s He Got Game.)
When he joined the Boston Celtics in 2008 to form a Big 3 with Garnett and Pierce , he redefined his role and became a spot shooter with his quick-release jump shot.
That jump shot was a result of long hours spent in the gym.
Have a quick look at a Ray Allen workout video and observe his legs, you don’t get a jump shot like his without the definition on his legs (especially his calves).
He was an All-Star before he became a starlet shooter, but that did not stop Allen from constantly perfecting his jumper.
Lesson: If you want to be great, you have to perfect your craft and every aspect of it.
Grant Hill was the Detroit Piston’s No. 3 pick in 1994 NBA Draft.
When he was drafted, he was seen as the heir apparent to the then recently retired Michael Jordan.
Before his career derailed, he was the next Michael Jordan before Kobe Bryant, even becoming the 1st rookie to lead the NBA All-Star voting.
Even when Jordan returned, Hill was right there in MVP voting finishing 3rd.
He was a star for 6 years, until a horrific ankle injury changed his career in 2000.
He never regained his superstar status, with a myriad of injuries following him for the whole of 7 years.
This was the alpha in the league, the player that was supposed to carry the NBA for the coming years.
However, he never sulked and gave up on himself.
Similar to Allen, he redefined his career in Phoenix to become a solid defender and an all-around player.
While he never regained his alpha status, he managed to carve out a decent career following his downfall.
Lesson: If you put your heart into it, you can turn the worst of situations into a great one.
Kidd came into the league as a walking triple-double.
A 6’ 4 point guard with a knack for finding his teammates, Kidd flourished by making his teammates better.
However, there was always a glaring hole in his career: his non-existent jumper.
While he dominated the floor without scoring high volume of points, he did everything else on the floor.
Rebounds, assists, defend and running the team’s offence.
Beyond his jumper, Kidd seemed flawless.
But in every professional league, your flaws are often magnified and abused.
He was often referred to as ason Kidd, because he had no J.
People laid off Kidd and forced him to beat them with jumpshots.
So what did Kidd do?
He worked on his weaknesses.
Through sheer work ethic, Kidd became a reliable floor general with a consistent 3 point shot.
In fact, he even made the top 10 list in 3 pointer made by the time he retired and routinely made clutch 3 pointers, especially in the 2011 NBA Finals against the Miami Heat.
Lesson: Work to turn your weakness into your strength.
When Nash was drafted No. 15 by the Phoenix Suns in the 1996 NBA Draft, he was booed by Suns fans.
A physically small player without relatively slow feet, Nash seemed destined for abuse in the NBA.
In the first few years, Nash was under-utilised by the Suns and barely saw time on the court.
He never got himself down and continued to put in work in the gym.
He turned his career around in his stint with the Dallas Mavericks and defined his role as a sharpshooting floor general.
While he was still routined abused on the defensive end, Nash carved out a HOF career with solid playmaking and clutch shooting.
Beyond just being a PG, Nash was a shooting machine, constantly being part of the elite 50-40-90 club.
This meant that he averaged above 50% shooting from the field, 40% from behind the 3 point line and 90% at the free-throw line.
In his stints with the Mavericks and eventually with the Suns again, Nash became a two-time MVP and regular All-Star.
Not bad for a guy who was boo-ed during the draft and many thought to be too physically overpowered to stay in the league.
Lesson: Don’t complain about what you don’t have and work with what you got.