When Dražen's teammates saw the success he was having at such an early age, they tried to follow his regime. Put up shots before every practice, after every practice. Get the keys for the gym and do extra drills - Dražen famously said, "It was just me and the cleaning ladies; they were doing their thing, I was doing mine." But it didn't last long for Petro's teammates - they couldn't keep up.
That's what separates the greatest players from the rest, even those close in terms of talent and physical attributes. The greatest ones have the mental focus to think of everything, and the dedication to do it 24/7, 365 days a year. They analyze every aspect of their existence and search for ways to improve themselves. One comment from Zach Lowe pointed out such detail.
“When they show LeBron on the sideline, sitting in that chair - his posture is unbelievable! It's textbook posture. I slouch, I squirm around. He's like in the military! I've never seen posture like that.”
Zach Lowe, The Lowe Post
Spending so much time sitting in front of the computer during this damn pandemic makes me relate to this more than ever. I'm in my early 30s and had to really work on how I sit because my back was killing me. But the moment my back pain went away, I slowly started to slip deeper into my chair (and corrected myself several times just while writing this article.) LeBron had similar problems early in his career, but unlike everyone else on the planet, a plan for his posture while sitting was developed.
Keep in mind we are talking about a 6-9, 250lb guy, and the fact NBA benches are basically foldout chairs. I always found it absurd NBA teams spent millions on sports science but then have players sitting in the worst possible chairs imaginable just so the teams could sell a few extra tickets. Yet another reminder it's all about the benjamins. So, LeBron was having back pain in his rookie season and realized something needs to change.
“It goes back to his first year back in Cleveland where his back was barking at him a little bit. So he got with his folks, David Alexander's gym in Miami, Donnie Raymond. That was a big part of what they did to work on him. Even when you're not actively working out to get your back right, you can't have it atrohpy by the way you're sitting.”
Dave McMenamin, The Lowe Post
McMenamin mentioned LeBron sometimes wears a back pad that helps him with his back and posture, but most of it was just LeBron's discipline. That's the kind of stuff the greatest players do. They don't just work out hours on end and then enjoy their free time. There is no free time when you're chasing greatness. The simple act of sitting became a part of the equation for being the most durable, physically dominant superstar for such a long time.
Doesn't sound so hard? Try and focus on your posture for the rest of the day, and see how it goes.