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Sunday, March 25, 2018

Teach Basketball; We Are Artists

Why does a Leonardo masterpiece headline a basketball missive? We are artists. 

Here’s a Leonardo (da Vinci) studio work, Madonna of the Yarnwinder. Like his mentor, Andrea del Verrocchio, Leonardo did commercial work, mass productions of the era. Ostensibly there are dozens (over forty) of this painting around the world. Controversy exists as to which are 'original' or authentic, by Leonardo's hand. But I digress. 

As coaches we seek inspired individual genius amidst collaborative excellence. UCONN's Geno Auriemma adds, "great players always come back to the team" just as individual instruments in a jazz band return to the whole. Leonardo's gift fueled his entire team. 

Observers see our 'fingerprints' on the finished products, just as we see Villanova vitality around the rim and Syracuse's suffocating 2-3 zone. 

Each of us informs the style and substance of our craft. When we adopt the Newellian "get more and better shots than our opponent," we train players to create easy shots and symmetrically force hard ones. 

When people see our work, can they recognize it? 

Well-coached and well-played basketball resembles art. The classic "Laker Break" of Showtime, the precision passing of the 1986 Celtics, or recent Spurs inspire us. 

We have an obligation to teach our players the craft and help them reproduce that which is worthy. We are artists.

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