The crowd was silent, watching on as a player was about to make or break history for his franchise. The player, Sasha Vujacic, the franchise, the Los Angeles Lakers, the year, 2010 NBA Finals. As an eleven year old, this moment was probably the highlight of my life so far. And as he sunk both free throws , the crowd roared, Kobe finally let out his held breath, and the Celtics were heartbroken, as they huddled for the timeout. Then they came out of the timeout, four attempts at a three point shot to possibly save their season, all misses and as the buzzer rang the Lakers were once again champions. Watching it live it was extremely emotional, even for my eleven year old brain at the time. Even as I watch it now it’s emotional, and I can feel what I felt watching it so many years ago. But in the moment all I focused on was the Lakers, the championship, and the celebration. It wasn’t until a long time after that I had realized the greatness of Sasha Vujacic and the inspiration that he is. He is the definition of heart, hard work, and confidence.
The story of how a bench player, barely in the rotation, could ultimately determine the outcome of the most important game in a team’s season is extremely amazing. It shows all the hard work, the dedication, and the fearless hours he put in off the camera to prepare for situations like that. He was an unsung hero and truly rose to the occasion. What he did just shows how anyone can accomplish anything as long as you truly put your heart into it and work for it. He never backed down from any obstacle or person (not even Kobe) and that’s what made him great.
I truly admire Sasha’s work ethic and I work everyday to try and acquire these characteristics. These characteristics help him in everyday life as well as in basketball. His ability to always work hard, be confident in his abilities, and rise to whatever life throws at him is life changing. Imagine if everyone in the world had this ability. The possibilities would be endless.
Unfortunately, not everyone has the same mindset Sasha does and so not everyone can be as successful as he is. But that doesn’t mean you can’t develop these abilities. Developing these abilities will be extremely hard work and you’d have to really push yourself to the point of discomfort to accomplish such things. But as famous quote once said, “In order to be successful, you must get used to being comfortable with being uncomfortable.” I’m not saying following this will instantly make you great but once you have that instilled this in your mind whether you’re working out in the weight room or up at night studying for a test, you’ll know in your mind that you are one step closer to achieving mental greatness than everyone else is, and that if you keep pushing yourself and compete against yourself, you will one day achieve greatness. Remember only you can keep yourself from being what you want to be. Take Sasha Vujacic’s story and remember it next time you face a challenge. You control all things, as does everyone else so always seize the moment, work hard and stay humble. I challenge you to be great.