Last night, Dennis Rodman taught me how to rebound.
It would seem there’s more to it than I had previously thought. Technique, skill, patience, anticipation, foot work. The rebound is a fundamental skill in basketball. Often neglected.
And Dennis Rodman showed me how.
I woke up before he could teach me to dunk.
In 1997, I read an excerpt from Dennis Rodman’s autobiography Bad as I Wanna Be. It changed my life.
I had been fascinated with Dennis Rodman for some time. The tattoos, the women, the attitude. What’s not to like? But there was something much deeper at work in Rodman. There was a mystery and a sadness. And wisdom.
In his book, he talked about the time he considered suicide. On the edge of self-destruction, he found self-discovery.
He says he decided to kill the impostor instead.
And in doing so, he freed himself.
I got chills when I read this. Not because I was suicidal or even depressed. I wasn’t. But because he chose to live the most dangerous life possible, he dared to be himself.
And this takes courage that few people have.
1) be yourself
To risk failure.
To risk ridicule.
To risk shame.
The fear is in our mind, of course.
Because the only true failure is not staying true to ourselves. The only true fear is never really being alive.
The day that I read his story, I decided that no matter what, I would strive to live. A life that was mine. I didn’t want to make decisions based on fear or self-doubt. I didn’t want to be influenced by people that didn’t matter.
I wanted to be me.
I haven’t been perfect at this. But Rodman paved the way. He is often in the back of my mind. Pushing me to authenticity and audacity.
I’m not always successful.
But every day I try to be a little better. A little more myself.
2) Yellow Porsches
I remember Dennis Rodman driving a canary yellow Porsche.
How he fit into that little car is a mystery.
I remember telling a friend that I would have one of those and drive it to my 10 year high school reunion. Well, that didn’t happen.
I just had my 20 year reunion. I rocked the blue mini-van.
And I’m ok with that.
You don’t always have to be the person you thought you would be.
In other words, it’s ok to change. It’s ok to grow.
It’s ok if your goals change. Just make sure you are still being true to yourself.
And in that mini-van, I am myself. That’s for sure.
My strange affinity for tattoos came from watching Dennis Rodman.
There were other influences as well: some documentary I watched when I was 12 about the “normal” people that had old school Japanese full body tattoos under their business suits and The Red Hot Chili Peppers.
But despite other influences, Rodman’s dyed hair and tattoos became a symbol of freedom to me. (Sorry, Mom)
For some doctors, they want the white coat, the shirt, the tie, the mystery, the prestige. I prefer blue jeans and tattoos.
Have I listened? Have I shown courage? Have I been kind? Have I led by example? These are the questions that matter. These are the questions that make a great doctor. So, these are the questions I try to focus on. Everything else is just window dressing.
Dennis Rodman is one of history’s greatest rebounders.
He obviously wasn’t short, but he was rebounding and boxing out people taller than him.
In a game where everyone just wants to shoot the ball, it is interesting to see someone that made a career from cleaning up after people’s misses.
Rebounding was never one of my strong suits in basketball. (Come to think of it, neither were dribbling, passing, or scoring)
Here’s a truth about life: we all shoot, and we all miss. Go for the rebound. Keep at it. There’s nothing worth having, if you don’t have to box out and be aggressive to get it.
To obtain something great, you are going to miss a lot of shots. You are going to have to get better at rebounding.
Maybe this means reinventing yourself. Maybe this means changing directions. Maybe it means changing jobs, moving towns, trying something new. Or maybe it means, for once in your life, accept yourself and enjoy being YOU.
You have potential.
You can be great.
But “great” doesn’t have to be what someone else expects of you.
Great is not what is EXPECTED, but what is ACCEPTED.
JUST BE YOU.
The one and only.
The one created by God.
In the image of God.
Dennis Rodman is my hero. But he’s not the only one.
I have many.
Many people that have gone before me and helped shape who I am.
Maybe you were one of them.
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