Meeting NBA Legend Byron Scott
Words of wisdom from the legendary player/coach
We had the opportunity to meet and interview a living legend of the NBA, Byron Scott. To the uninitiated, the Byron Scott has won three world NBA championships and has also been awarded the honor of best coach of the league.
A Trip Down Memory Lane
The man of the hour arrived in a shiny black sports jacket, sweat pants and cap—safe to say, we were awestruck but tried our best to keep our cool. Byron Scott, however, had no airs about him; he was very courteous and professional, which made everybody feel at ease.
Our first question was on his time as a member of the Los Angeles Lakers Championship Team (starting lineup also comprised of Magic Johnson, AC Green, James Worthy and Kareem Abdul-Jabaar) during the “Showtime Era.” Byron describes the group of players as “one that will go down in history as one of the greatest teams that has ever played the game.” He also states the main contributing factors, which made their team so successful, were their love and respect for each other, “We talk about how close knit that team was and how loved each other as teammates and as friends.” This friendship has lasted over 30 years and they still see each other on a regular basis #friendshipgoals. Ervin “Magic” Johnson works out at the same gym as Byron does at least two times a week, AC Green is his daughter’s godfather and some of his other teammates live on the same street as he does, so they still see each other a lot. They often reminisce about how much fun they had playing during those days and it is that kind of relationship, combined with talent, that made winning possible. “The relationships that we formed were more important than winning the championships.”
But make no mistake about it, “You got to work harder than the other guy. Take nothing for granted. Talent will get you there but will not keep you there,” advises the man who has attained so much in the game of basketball. But if you ask us, his advice transcends all aspects of life, whether in sports, work or education. You have to earn what you want in life and hustle!
From Playing the Game to Coaching
Byron Scott’s transition from player to coach was pretty smooth. Two Hall of Fame coaches, Pat Riley while he was with the Lakers and Larry Brown during his time in Indiana as a Pacer, claimed even then he’d make a good coach one day. “When you got two guys like that telling you, you got to pay attention.” Byron ultimately followed that path, was given the honor of coaching two All Star Games and was also the recipient of the Red Auerbach Trophy as the 2007-2008 NBA Coach of the Year while with the New Orleans Hornets. Again, he credits his success to working harder than his competitors. There are no excuses why you shouldn’t be able to train no matter the circumstances; you have to find a way to put in the work to get ahead and achieve success. “I would run this course around the house, it was about five miles, and this particular night when I was supposed to run, it was pouring rain, so I got to run.”
Paying It Forward
For Byron Scott, giving back to the community is important, a value instilled upon him by his father. “Once you’re successful, you got to bring the next generation up,” Byron quotes his dad. Thus, he put up the Byron Scott Children’s Foundation, an organization dedicated to helping kids with cancer. With over $3M in donation, it seems highly likely for him extend the same help here in our local shores, where he intends to hold basketball camps and other charity events to help raise awareness about cancer and how we can all help. Byron Scott feels very deeply towards people suffering from the disease and is moved by their strength and bravery.
We’ve learned so much in the short time we spent with the legendary coach/player. But our favorite nugget of wisdom is this: when you have genuine respect and love for others, be it in sports, the work place, or even in the game of life, it is in the relationships that you form that make winning easy. See? Teamwork always makes the dream work.