Knowing Kyle Lowry: From Hot-Headed Know It All to Learning and Doing More For What It's Worth
FYI, this is a neat article by an excellent NBA writer, Yahoo! Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski, a guy who was nice enough to respond to an email I sent him a while ago too. As I continue to transition from someone who stubbornly tried to be someone that people could believe could solve most of their problems as long as they funded his efforts, which on some levels I still do, to someone who needs to learn as much as possible after failing to get the funding to teach, I can relate to his talented and yet hard-headed struggle to find the right balance between listening, working, boasting and coasting, depending on what was called for and by whom.
For example, a quote from the article from newly minted Toronto Raptors all-star DeMar DeRozan:
"When Kyle first came, he was a live wire," Raptors forward DeMar DeRozan told Yahoo Sports. "That's just him. But to see the patience in him come out – with everybody – I think that's been key to us winning."
This is something I can relate to as I continue to try to avoid the stress of people struggling to communicate with me in ways that are stressful and disrespectful which they know and yet can't control which has been intensifying for three years. While my typical mode is to ignore them and focus on something else instead, that doesn't necessarily work. But, neither does reacting, which only seems to make things temporarily better and then worse. This leaves me struggling to find ways to transcend our social constipation and related anti-social behaviour which I have to do more effectively. Or, to have more patience in finding new ways to relate to it.
:For example, another quote from the article from badass-looking Toronto coach Dwayne Casey:
"Kyle's delivery, his approach, reminds me so much of G.P.," [Gary Payton] Casey says. "Guys would make a mistake and Gary would drop a few F-bombs and lay into them. What Gary was saying was true – the content was great – but guys couldn't get past the delivery."
While I don't know how dangerous some big, frustrated and sketchy guys can be, or girls for that matter, and sometimes still drop my voice to a rougher and gravelly growl to deal with them, or make it seem like I'm just as dangerous or moreso and might shank someone for freaking me out, crowding or threatening me, I still have to realize I'm dealing with wounded soul(dier)s who need guidance instead of upbraiding. (Google it like I just did to make sure.) In the moment it can be hard because I'm simply reacting to a ridiculous and yet normal lack of respect with an immediate, understandable and acceptable response. But I can do better.
For example, another quote from the article from shoulda been all-star, Toronto Raptors' Kyle Lowry:
"I thank Chauncey [Billups] all the time, and I tell him, 'I want to try and be better than you,' " Lowry says. " 'But first, I want to be … like you.' He would tell me to handle a situation the way that he would, to never get frustrated, to be a man. I still hear him saying, 'You've got to take responsibility for your talent.'
This is a key and it's something I have to remember for all the "You!" and "Help!" and "Do something!" - like looks and silent solicitations I seem to get, including from many children who seem to wonder why I'm one of the few adults it's safe to say hello to and get a reaction from that can help them feel safe and special. At the risk of growing socially constipated and sketchy myself, I'm trying to restrict my extended thoughts to this blog and creative pursuits and defaulting to a safe and wholly unsatisfying way of communicating much more conservatively on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and more and at work and with friends. It's hard, but seeya.
For now, check out the article in detail and I'll have more free-speaking and thinking bloggage for you soon.
How Kyle Lowry transformed the Raptors and became one of the NBA's top point guards
By Adrian Wojnarowski 19 March, 2014 6:55 PM Yahoo Sports
TORONTO – They were sitting in the 17th floor's corner office, long glass windows offering a majestic cityscape, and Kyle Lowry listened to a most mild-mannered man raise his voice louder and louder. Masai Ujiri, the Toronto Raptors president and general manager, was hired with a mandate to transform this franchise, and he understood nothing could speed the process faster than the point guard transforming himself.
So on the eve of training camp, something irritated Ujiri, and this episode promised to be the final conversation these two would ever have on the matter of Lowry's maturation. All this talent, all these disappointments, and Ujiri had a determination to speak his mind and leave Lowry to make the choices that promised to dictate his future with the Raptors.
Ujiri climbed out of his seat, marched across the room, lifted a binder from his desk and pretended to pass it into imaginary hands. Someday, Ujiri told him, this will be you walking up to NBA general managers at the Chicago predraft camp, trying to get a scouting job. They'll want no part of you, no part of your reputation. Ujiri told Lowry he'd be playing out his career on one-year deals on the low end of the NBA's salary scale.
Once and for all, Masai Ujiri told Kyle Lowry the truth.
Oh, how Ujiri loves Lowry's game – his talent, his ferocity, his intellect – and how he wanted him to understand: Spare your career this maddening, self-fulfilling prophecy and honor a relentless summer of conditioning and commitment with the best season of your life.
Ujiri didn't hear excuses out of Lowry, only noticing his knowing nods and hurting eyes. Lowry was listening. Finally, he was listening.
From Ujiri to Lowry's agent Andy Miller to his NBA mentor Chauncey Billups, this had been the summer of tough love and tougher introspection. Ultimately, the truths coated Lowry like a second skin: He was pissing his promise away, trading All-Star winning talent and long-term financial security for a loser's legacy and journeyman status.
Most of all, it was needless. Lowry's too talented. He's too competitive. For so long, his stubbornness had been channeled into the wrong ways, the wrong energies. In a point guard league, Lowry had the gifts and grit to be an All-Star and a winner. At 6-foot-tall, he had to be fiercer, tougher and unrelenting. As much as that had long taken a toll on his opponents, it took something greater out of Kyle Lowry himself.
[Great article continued at...]
P.S. While I read more about basketball than I watch it, or spend a few minutes a day on Yahoo! Sports' NBA page and maybe the odd Grantland story, I still love it and hope to bond with the boyz and girlz over more beers and games soon. I've had a great time with people especially when there's something for us to focus and comment intelligently on where I shine which can help avoid any concerns about overt examination and introspection and more. At this point this blog may just be cathartic masturbation, but it's also a way of dealing with dealing with the frustration of many as casually expressed to me, so hopefully we can all get off.