Basketball playoffs demonstrate life lessons

As I sat biting my nails watching my Cavs play the Pacers the other night, it occurred to me that the NBA Playoffs are really a metaphor for life.

Yeah, yeah, I know I’m a LeBron Loyalist, an Irving Addict and an absolute Lover of Kevin Love (well, duh) … but I really do believe I’m onto something here. Consider the following lessons to be gleaned from our super-tall pals on the court:

1. Never assume a win. You could be ahead 3 and 0 in the series, but that doesn’t mean you’re going to sweep it, yo. Just because you had a great interview or you’re a super smart student or you are wildly articulate doesn’t mean you’re a shoo-in to get the job … or that you’ll ace the class or nail the presentation if you don’t prepare accordingly.

So — prepare accordingly.

2. Always respect the coach. You might not always agree with the plays or calls, but the coach has that role for a reason.

The head honcho in charge, whether at the office, at Rotary or around the dining room table, got to be in that position by earning it in some way. Even if you think he or she is putting in the wrong power forward, accept the decision as in the team’s best interests.

3. Have a Plan B. Look, Even MVPs miss a foul shot every now and again. Or travel. Or foul out. Have a game plan that accounts for the injury, illness or other unforeseen hurdle which could sideline your superstar and otherwise obliterate your agenda, outline, playbook, lesson plan, or strategy.

If LeBron catches the flu or gets a wicked hangnail or stupid-head Klay Thompson clocks him in the eye and he’s riding the bench for a bit, there should be a backup ready to rollout. Just in case. LeBron can’t do everything, y’all, which leads me to…

4. Teamwork wins games. All things being equal, assists are just as important as points scored, ya dig? Selfless plays make superstars but they also build camaraderie, morale and collective strength. Be willing to share the spotlight.

5. No team has ever had zero losses in a postseason. Even the 1985-86 Celtics lost one game that amazing year. Sometimes, you can do everything right and still lose the game. Russell Westbrook knows this one only too well, right?

There’ll be days when you have done your homework, practiced over and over and over, taken every precaution and considered all variables and still the refs will call it in favor of the other team. It happens. Don’t dwell on the loss; learn from the mistakes.

6. Never turn on your fans. I don’t care how angry you are at yourself, your teammates or your coach after a game, when a 5-year-old boy begs you for your autograph, take a few seconds out of your ire to give him the moment of a lifetime. Always, always show your biggest fans the love. Especially the ones who gave birth to you.

I digress. Just don’t bite the hand that feeds, period.

Some honorable-mentions include:

l Communication can make the difference between a win and a loss.

l Attitude and heart are half the battle.

l Opinions aren’t facts. Trust the stats but shut out the noise. Others’ harsh criticism of you usually speaks more to their character than yours.

l Never badmouth your peeps in public. Keep that crud contained to the locker room.

l Russell Westbrook is the Michael Phelps of the NBA this year. Give him the flipping MVP already.

l Charles Barkley is an idiot. But then, I already knew that.

And the biggest life lesson the NBA Playoffs has to offer? When the clock runs out, it’s over. Sometimes in a game or in life, what should only take a few seconds takes a whole lot longer, but the bottom line is when the final seconds tick away, that’s all she wrote, my friends.

And what happened in the first three periods doesn’t really matter if you blow it in the fourth, capisce?

So make sure you give it your all, every game.

Kimerer is a Tribune Chronicle columnist who feels if LeBron can’t win the MVP award this year, it should go to Westbrook, ding dang it. Contact her with your NBA Finals predictions at www.patriciakimerer.com

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