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  • Writer's pictureJack Mullaney

The Audacity of Winning

Here's a list for you:

  1. Lebron James

  2. Karl Malone

  3. John Stockton

  4. Kobe Bryant

  5. Jason Kidd

This isn't the NBA's all-time scoring list, but three of those players (James, Malone, Bryant) are top five on that list, too.

This isn't the all-time assists list, but the other two players (Stockton, Kidd) claim the top two spots there.

Yes, these are all current or future Hall of Famers. But that's not what this list is. Can you guess?

Here's another:

  1. Sue Bird

  2. Diana Taurasi

  3. Becky Hammon

  4. Tina Thompson

  5. Lisa Leslie

Again, this isn't the WNBA's all-time scoring list, but all of these women are top 12 in that category.

It's not the all-time assists list, but three (Bird, Taurasi, Hammon) are top six there as well.

All of these women are current or future Hall of Famers. But yet again, that's not what this list is.

These lists are the NBA and WNBA's all-time leaders in:

Turnovers.

There's an important lesson here.

In a previous post about Sir Alex Ferguson, I wrote that having the ball is like having the lead.

In order to win a ball sport (like basketball or soccer), you need to score. In order to score, you need the ball.

In order to win a race, you need to cross the finish line first. In order to do that, you need to take the lead.

The athletes on the lists above decided that winning was their top priority. That meant that scoring, or helping their teammates score, would align with that priority. To do that, they needed the ball.

If they were afraid of turnovers, they'd be afraid of taking the ball. If they were afraid of taking the ball, they wouldn't score, or help their teammates score. And they wouldn't win.

Losing the lead in a race is like a turnover in a basketball game. It's merely a byproduct of trying to win.

Of course, just as basketball has its strategic ways to attack, there are more optimal ways of taking the lead than others.

But like these basketball players have showed, only those with the audacity to take the ball in the first place are the ones who give themselves a chance to win.

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