A few weeks ago, I wrote about how every player should expect a championship. I even went so far as to say
I don't care if you're Bismack Biyombo. If you're asked about the "tough season coming up," you respond with "I go into every game expecting to win and trying to do everything I can to make that happen. If it turns out to be a tough season, we'll talk about it then. But I'm here to win games, and that's what I expect to do."
That was a hypothetical... and I stand by it. But it doesn't make it any less jarring to hear in real life. Like when J.R. Smith made this guarantee for the upcoming Knicks season:
Interviewer: "What can we expect for this new season coming up?"
Smith: "A championship"
Stop it right there and you'd think "all that ink has gone to J.R.'s brain." The Knicks will be decent, but no self-respecting prognosticator would pick the Knicks to do much of anything in the postseason.
But then it goes on.
Interviewer: "Word? You really saying that?"
Smith: "Of course, nothing less. If we settle for anything less, we already started off losing."
Then comes my favorite part... when someone off camera asks "Is that a guarantee?"
Here's the whole video.Smith spoke with NYPost.com over the weekend, and he was asked what fans could expect from the Knicks this season. "A championship," replied Smith. He was then pressed about whether or not that was a guarantee. "I mean, in my eyes, yeah," Smith responded. "Whoever. Lakers, Heat, whoever."
Read more at: http://www.nesn.com/2012/09/jr-smith-guarantees-championship-may-have-temporarily-forgot-he-plays-for-knicks-video.html Smith spoke with NYPost.com over the weekend, and he was asked what fans could expect from the Knicks this season. "A championship," replied Smith. He was then pressed about whether or not that was a guarantee. "I mean, in my eyes, yeah," Smith responded. "Whoever. Lakers, Heat, whoever."
Read more at: http://www.nesn.com/2012/09/jr-smith-guarantees-championship-may-have-temporarily-forgot-he-plays-for-knicks-video.html
For some reason, we love "guarantees" in this country. We flip out for them. I'll re-iterate my stance from my previous piece. What do fans expect JR Smith, or anyone else to say?
"The team has invested a lot of money in this franchise and you guys are all going to spend a lot of money on tickets, food, and beer... but I don't think we're going to be all that great. Sorry y'all."
Yeah, our immediate reaction is that J.R. Smith is nuts for thinking the Knicks are going to win a title... but the reality is that's not what he's saying. He's not predicting the future. He's talking about his mindset, and that's a very different thing.
Most professional athletes go into their respective events with the mind set that they're going to win whatever it is they're doing. The expectation to win is a fuel that drives you to dive for loose balls, to fight for that offensive rebound, to track down a guy on the break and get the chase-down block.
Player guarantees never have, and never will be, predictions. Player guarantees are always that internal fire explaining to you what that player expects the results to be. As a coach, I'd never want a player on my team that expects anything less.
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