Body language says a lot about a person. They say to hold your head high with your shoulders back because it exudes confidence. The same holds true on the basketball court especially for younger kids looking to make their way up.
A player’s talent, athleticism, and IQ are obvious key points of attention but body language can play a huge factor in a coach’s decision. Body language, similar to coachability, is a basketball attribute that shows leadership that can catapult a player up.
The sport of basketball is emotional. The emotion that the orange pill draws out of a player is what makes the game so special. However, it’s up to the player to be smart about how they display that said emotion. There are highs and there are lows but what a lot of coaches and recruiters look at are how players carry themselves through the lows.
Head down, lack of effort, negative energy towards teammates and isolation are just a few signs of poor body language. It’s okay and natural to be frustrated at times. That’s a part of the game, but how you carry yourself through those times is what’s key.
An example of this is LeBron James who’s known as one of the best players to touch a basketball court. After reaching the playoffs 13 straight seasons and the NBA Finals eight straight seasons, he’s been hit with a brutal punch of adversity with the Los Angeles Lakers missing the postseason this year. The season started off on a positive note but once James faced an injury and missed a streak of games that’s when things went downhill.
James has been heavily scrutinized since coming back. Despite his numbers, many have questioned his effort and assertion out on the floor. What has been more of a standout for me has been his body language and emotion, things that are uncommon for James.
There’s been a lot of complaining to the referees, not getting back on defense, not attempting to contest shots and a lot of flailing arms in frustration.
Kuzma "helping" LeBron on defense due to some confusion pic.twitter.com/JVTE1cTdsh
— CJ Fogler (@cjzero) March 5, 2019
One of the standout moments of the season was James throwing the ball off the backboard in an attempt to inbound the ball. I understand James is used to winning and the common occurrence of losses this season is frustrating but that doesn’t make these things okay especially when you’re the leader of the team.
James has also been off on his own, in isolation on the bench and during timeouts a couple of times this season. This got a lot of attention during their game against the New York Knicks after NBA legend, Walt Frazier had some choice words for James due to his actions.
More on what Frazier had to say in regard to James sitting alone on the bench:
“This type of behavior … when you’re the face of the NBA, you should be more a part of your team, folks,” Frazier said on the MSG telecast. “No matter what is going on. In the public, you gotta be a part of the team. Maybe in the locker room you’re not, but you have to exude that type of togetherness in public, folks. And right now we see he doesn’t really care.”
Losing is frustrating, there’s no doubt about that, but as a player, you must carry yourself as a leader through those times. It’s not okay to lash out at teammates in a derogatory manner or make bone-headed plays due to frustration. That’s part of the game but how you respond to it shows how strong of a player you truly are.
Motivating your team, helping your teammates up, clapping for others, and asserting more effort during tough times makes a player standout and is a good sign of leadership. That’s what coaches and recruits look for. They’re not interested in guys who complain and pout. So next time something goes wrong, don’t pout and don’t curse out a teammate. Figure out how to be better and how to push your teammates to be better as well.