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How to Win

What Olympic Champions Talk About

“Paint a masterpiece daily.” — Greg Hickman

Duke Coach Mike Krzyzewski appeared on The MSNBC program “Morning Joe” on Wednesday. He was plugging his book, “Gold Standard,” the story of last summer’s gold medal in Olympic men’s basketball. You can see the clip here.

Virtually none of what Krzyzewski discussed on the show related to basketball strategy. Instead, he talked about the framework for success. He recalled that conversations with the players set the tone for pursuit of the gold medal. Dwayne Wade said that the players needed to have each others’ backs. Jason Kidd observed that players needed to be on time. LeBron James chimed in with, “No excuses.”

These comments set the STANDARDS that the players chose for themselves. Or, as Coach K said, the players decided HOW THEY WERE GOING TO LIVE.

It’s one thing to give all you have at practice. It’s another thing to actually LIVE a certain way.

None of what the players said was complicated or exotic. Mutual support, respect for the rules and accountability are all values that you can choose for yourself every day. They are the values that Olympians chose, and they led to a gold medal.


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