Workout Warriors: Kevin Durant tested as the 78th best athlete in the 2007 NBA Draft

This week, as you watch Oklahoma City and Kevin Durant in the 2012 NBA Finals and read about prodigious performances in NBA teams’ individual workouts, remember that Kevin Durant tested as the 78th out of 80 athletes tested in 2007. Durant famously could not lift 185lbs a single time, and also failed to excel in any of the other tests. Of course, none of those 77 players who were “better athletes” than Durant won the 2007-08 NBA Rookie of the Year, and Durant is the only three-time NBA scoring champ among his draft class.  […]

Athletic genius: An argument for the intelligence of athletic gifts

Originally published in Los Angeles Sports & Fitness, May/June 2012.

As a child, my parents emphasized the importance of academics, like most responsible parents. They encouraged my sports participation, but if I had to sacrifice one for the other, it was clear that athletics would be sacrificed for academics. Throughout high school, I was reminded by every adult in my sphere of influence that I was not going to be a professional athlete. The implication was that my G.P.A. was far more important than recreational pursuits. This is a fairly common story, and many of the young children that I coach have been indoctrinated with this belief. We have this idea that G.P.A. equals intelligence and a good future, while playing games is trivial. Athletes rarely are considered intellectual geniuses.  […]