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Volume 65 Number 2

Why success is not the only way to score

by Mary Dawson - 2014-11-20

Wayne Gretzky, hockey phenom, once said, “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.” It seems like Gretzky is encouraging athletes to have the mindset to take a shot anytime you get the opportunity to do so. It would be interesting to see, however, what he would think of missing a huge percent of those shots you choose to take. What would he make of Kobe Bryant adding a new title to his belt, holding the record for the most missed shots in the NBA.

How weird as this may sound, Bryant’s recently-earned title seems to come at a fitting time, as it seems to perfectly reflect the Lakers as a whole. The Lakers have turned into a team that has become the butt of many Clipper fans’ jokes, a team that continues to struggle and still have no hope to be successful this season. Bryant’s new record is just another thing for Lakers fans to roll their eyes at.

What shot was it that throned Bryant this title? When the Lakers played the Memphis Grizzlies on Tuesday, November 11th, Bryant missed a shot in the 4th quarter, putting his record of missed shots up to 13,418. One kid posted on his twitter a stat that really puts Bryant’s record in perspective- “Only 87 players in NBA history have taken more than the number of shots that Kobe has missed.”

Bryant surpassed John Havlicek’s record of 13,417 field-goal attempts. Havlicek was a talented forward and shooting guard who won eight titles with the Boston Celtics. In Havlicek’s career, he scored 26,395 points (averaging 20.8 points per game); in fact, he’s number 13 on the list of players with the highest scoring careers. Bryant appears on the same list at number 4, with up until now, 31,929 points (averaging 25.5 points per game). Both of these players have an impressive number of points scored, but their records of most missed shots show that a high number of field goals can come at a high cost.

The high number of missed shots seems to actually be a true indication of the great players. Behind Bryant and Havlicek’s names on the not-so-positive list of missed shots are players such as Elvin Hayes, Karl Malone, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, and Michael Jordan. Just like Bryant and Havlicek, these players are towards the top of the list of NBA career scoring leaders. This is no coincidence. These players aren’t perfect and can’t hit every shot they take; and if they are making a high number of points, there’s got to be a cost to those numerous attempts at field goals.

For many elite athletes, there will come a point in their career where success will come only after taking monumental risks; like choosing to shoot instead of pass, throwing a curveball instead of a slider, or choosing a club that makes it more possible, but more uncertain to get to the putting green, instead of a club that would make it an easy two strokes to get to the green. Not just in sports, but in other aspects of life, people will share that one key aspect of being successful is the ability to take risks. Many successful companies started as start-ups done by people who risked everything and invested their whole lives in the company. Bryant’s new record of missed field goals is a textbook example of how true that is- people who are successful have achieved their success through taking risks. Bryant knows that yes, he has missed 13,417 shots; but he also is very well aware of how many he has made. That latter number is the one that matters more, and the reason why he should and will continue to keep on shooting.



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Article Keywords:

bryant, seems, shot, title, record, missed, lakers, successful, players, havlicek, career, list, high, point

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