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Playing basketball with Howie Long

being a professional May 11, 2024


That thing, that force that keeps us from doing what we know we should do but don’t do.

We know we should leave the house more. We know we should be around more people. We know we should make the call our intuition tells us to make.

But we don’t. More importantly, we know it’s not a should - we know it’s a must. We simply tell ourselves ‘should’ so we don’t feel so guilty.

It’s like we are trying to move forward in our life and business but someone seemingly has grabbed onto our shirt and we are moving very slowly, if at all.

When I was in my first year of college I worked at this high-end gym in Manhattan Beach. I would work out and play basketball at the gym a few afternoons per week. Mostly it was 6-10 guys playing half-court, mostly men the age I am now!

Except there were a few younger players coming through every now and then. One of them was NFL Hall of Fame defensive end Howie Long. At the time he was playing for the Raiders (when they were still in L.A.) and it was the off-season for him. Why he was coming into the gym to play pick-up basketball - I have no idea.

One day we were playing and he pulled two ridiculous moves on me. The first was a pick. I was running to chase my guy and 275-pound Howie Long, all muscle, just stood there as I ran right into him and bounced onto the floor. Ouch.

Several plays later the ball was being inbounded. I went to run and chase the ball, but I went nowhere. Howie had grabbed onto my shirt - and I was...stuck.

Kind of like Resistance - the phenomena that Steven Pressfield has coined - which feels like it grabs onto you, keeping you from moving anywhere. Resistance is designed to keep us safe - but it also keeps us stuck.

If you think Howie Long was being mean or taking advantage of a 19-year-old skinny kid, you would be mistaken. He was absolutely the nicest guy. One time after playing he treated me to a smoothie in the cafe. He was telling me that as soon as he retired he would drop 50+ pounds. I said, “Why? I am trying to bulk up! I wish I had the extra weight!”

He stood up, and told me to walk with him back into the workout area. We went to the free-weights, and he grabbed two 45-pound plates as if they were silver dollars. He held one up against my chest and the other on my back. He said, “How does that feel?”

Point taken. The extra weight is a burden.

So is the weight of being stuck.

If you feel stuck, if you feel like you are not getting anywhere - what do you have to let go of? What action do you need to take that you are resisting?

I feel like a broken record. I talk to agents - and many of them are stuck. But very few are willing to engage in any new action.

It really takes something to create boundless opportunity and freedom. Mostly it takes courage - courage to act without knowing how it’s all going to turn out.


Side note: I offer to help folks and practically no one takes me up on it.