The 1996 NBA draft is arguably the most impressive in the league's recent history. It saw the career birth of superstars like Allen Iverson, Steve Nash and Ray Allen. But most importantly, it was the year 17 year-old Kobe Bryant became the youngest player in NBA history to be selected to join its ranks.
I didn't watch the draft that day. In fact, I wasn't even much of a basketball fan then. But there was something magical, even mesmerizing about the day that summer that the Charlotte Hornets traded young Kobe to the Lakers. Los Angles was abuzz with the idea that this young superstar was moving to LA to join Shaq and hopefully elevate the team to the nostalgic greatness of the Magic/Kareem days. Excitement was palpable. Expectations were huge. And everything was about to change.
Kobe would accomplish even more than anyone could ever imagine... 4 title rings, 3 All-Star MVP honors, 1 Olympic gold medal and the record as the highest scoring Laker of all time. Oh, and by the way, he hasn't even retired yet.
But he would also experience struggle. An affair that turned into rape allegations would leave him buried in a legal nightmare at the height of his career. He lost all of his endorsements, spent some time in jail, and almost lost his family.
What does any of this have to do with Weight Watchers you may legitimately wonder? Well, I'm getting to that.
You see, Kobe was 17 when I was 17. I was amazed that someone my own age was about to make millions upon millions of dollars, was on the cover of every magazine, was going to have 20,000 fans screaming his name nightly, and somehow, just barely, managed to remain calm, poised and articulate. He became someone I admired. He became a symbol of all that was possible for my generation. He was downright amazing.
So this week, as I stepped on that dreaded Weight Watchers scale and saw the numbers fail to decline, I felt disappointed in myself. I realized I didn't track very well. I let myself splurge on high point foods a few too many times. And I didn't keep a deal with myself to get moving again. Basically, I didn't really try.
As I sat in the weekly meeting I started thinking about inspiration... how I needed to dig a bit deeper and find something to focus on that would keep me on track. And naturally. The first thing to come to mind, was Kobe. I thought, if Kobe could find a way to get to the gym an hour early every day, spend hours practicing with the team, and still find time to practice his jump shot at night, I can find a way to take a minute or two and write down what I put in my mouth. If Kobe could play 82 games a year through numerous injuries and illnesses, I can walk a couple miles home from work once or twice a week. And if Kobe could get through a rape trial, avoid a divorce and manage to be a good dad, I can resist an afternoon cookie when I'm feeling a little stressed at work.
So this week is all about restructuring my thinking. Those things that seemed painful and annoying last week (e.g. tracking and moving) are really just simple, easy tasks on the path to my goal this week. I have a new mindset. A new inspiration. And it may sound cheesy, but it's really very simple:
If Kobe could. I can.