Monday, July 28, 2008

Competitors seek out the best to improve, test their skills

Looks like Adam "Pac Man" Jones (at left chasing T.O.) and his teammate Terrell Owens are going at it pretty good at Cowboys training camp. Based on their quotes (and their on-field success), both are intense competitors.

Said Jones: "I'm here to compete. I'm not here to prove anything. I'm here to compete."

Said Owens: "It's all in the competition. That's part of it for the both of us to get each other better. I look forward to the competition every day. I know whatever I do is going to help them and whatever they do against me it's obviously going to help me. Obviously during the course of practice, it gets very, very competitive and during game time it makes everything easier."

Said head coach Wade Phillips: "The reason they're good is they're competitors. And so if they think someone is the best or someone is good, they're going to try to meet the challenge rather than dodge the challenge."

Gilbert Arenas is one player who, if he saw a guy having a good practice, would kick it up a few notches. Ron Artest had a similar mentality, both in practices and games. He always wants the challenge of guarding the opponent's best player. And when we'd play Cleveland, Miami, or the Lakers, Ron would make it clear that he wanted LeBron, Dwyane, or Kobe.

One reason we had so much success in our two seasons in the USBL was that we had 10 guys who really enjoyed going at each other in practice. Mark Boyd and Larry Lewis, in particular, had intense battles in practice. Both guys were undersized power forwards who, if two inches taller, would have been NBA players for a long time.

Unfortunately, not every player has that mentality. As talented as he was, Rumeal Robinson didn't like to compete. Pearl Washington, who like Rumeal was a very talented guard, was not a strong competitor. It's likely a reason why, despite excellent skills, neither had successful NBA careers.

But as I've discussed here previously, talent is never enough.