I was at work the other day and a co-worker said something that almost made my blood boil. For those of you that know me, sometimes it doesn't take much to get me fired up.
This co-worker of mine is a huge KNICKS fan and he was watching their game against the Celtics. The Knicks were blowing another lead and he said "it's too bad that Mike D'Antoni can't get these guys to play hard every night." My immediate response was, excuse me? These guys get paid millions of dollars to play a game every night and they can't find a way to motivate themselves? They are grown men that have been playing this game practically since birth. I know they play a lot of games and that night in and night out it can be difficult to bring the energy, but they owe it to themselves, the team and their fans to work hard and put the best product on the court.
It's not the responsibility of the head coach to get you to play hard. I was an athlete growing up and never once did I turn to my coach or even my teammates to get me fired up. Yes, coaches and teammates can help with motivation and inspiration but ultimately it comes down to each individual athlete, the attitude they choose to have and what they want to accomplish.
In my opinion the idea that it's the coach's job to get the guys playing hard every night is ridiculous. Yes, it's the coach's job to get the team ready to play with good practice, film and game planning but not with a "rah-rah" speech in the pre-game, half-time and during every timeout. In my opinion, the idea that it's the coach's fault if his team is not playing hard is just a sign of the times. More and more people in our society don't take responsibility for their actions. More and more people in our society are complacent and comfortable with letting somebody else take the blame. And I think these pro athletes in these situations are no different.
It's time for these pro athletes to step up and put on their Big Boy pants. Take some responsibility. It's the coach's job to get you prepared but once you're on the court, you're on your own. This is the athletes' time to shine and take full responsibility for the results, good or bad.
I think Suns point guard Steve Nash said it best after practice when head coach Alvin Gentry walked off without talking to the media because he was disgusted with his team's effort and energy.
"Sometimes we have to take keys from our coach and he's got to find ways to motivate and inspire us and unfortunately it shouldn't be his job everyday but today was one of those days where he wanted more from us."
Well said Steve Nash…well said.