Bouncing Back: Lessons In Resilience From NBA Stars Who Overcame Adversity
Own The Feels
Own The Feels

Bouncing Back: Lessons In Resilience From NBA Stars Who Overcame Adversity

Here's a little hit of inspiration for the hard times.

Recovering from a breakup is kinda like an emotional endurance sport - so it's not a bad idea to take some notes from the world's best athletes. 

Sure, these guys already do a lot of the stuff you're meant to do, like eat well, work out and drink heaps of water, but they also demonstrate hella mental toughness, confidence and perseverance - this stuff is key for getting through heartbreak.

Some of the biggest names in the NBA overcame brutal rejection, adversity and having the odds stacked against them to end up living their dreams as professional sports superstars. 

So whenever you're struggling with motivation to keep fighting for your own happiness, just remember even Michael Jordan got cut from his high school basketball team. That, and check out these stories about how some of the GOAT ball players came to be.

Giannis Antetokounmpo (The Greek Freak)

Known as 'The Greek Freak' due to his tricky-to-pronounce surname (dw, he loves his nickname), Giannis Antetokounmpo is a pretty inspirational dude. He and his siblings were born in Greece to Nigerian immigrant parents, where they lived in extreme poverty. They didn't have Greek citizenship, which made them essentially stateless, and Giannis and his brothers sold sunglasses and trinkets on the streets of Athens to try and support their family.

Giannis' incredible athleticism and work ethic were evident from a young age, and he's opened up about continuing to train even on days when his family was so poor he could only have one meal at 11pm. It's fair to say resilience and determination was a strong theme in the sports star's upbringing - and a great reminder of how believing in your own abilities can see you through the darkest times, like navigating a difficult break up.

He was drafted by the Milwaukee Bucks in 2013, and through sheer determination and relentless self-improvement, he became one of the NBA's most dominant players, winning multiple MVP awards and leading the Bucks to an NBA championship in 2021.

LeBron James

Before he was known as one of the world's most iconic sports stars, LeBron James grew up in a tough neighbourhood in Ohio, where street violence was the status quo. He was raised by a single mother, and the family struggled financially. Early on, he showed serious athletic skills, but he was teased for his unusual strength and stature. 

At the age of just nine, he was sent to live with his basketball coach, and his sporting career began to take off. LeBron has a banger of a quote when it comes to recovering from life's setbacks, and it goes like this:

"Don't be afraid of failure. This is how you succeed."

It can be easy to fall into the trap of believing that the end of a relationship is a 'failure' - that you've somehow lost out in the game of love. 

It's actually pretty much the opposite. You've learned so much from this experience, even if you don't know it yet, and ultimately, working through your feelings around this chapter closing will help you succeed in the next. 

Derrick Rose

Derrick Rose, or 'D-Rose' was named the youngest ever MVP in history at the age of 22, but his life both before and after that moment would be marred with difficulties. 

Rose has been vulnerable about the childhood trauma he experienced growing up in Chicago's South Side, which he said gave him a kind of PTSD to do with fears of violence. He's spoken about growing up in a house with 10 people living in it, some of them on drugs, and about showing up to school with bite marks from cockroaches. 

Once he made it into the NBA, Rose suffered a series of devastating knee injuries that threatened to derail his promising career. He went through four knee surgeries in six years, and was traded from the Chicago Bulls to the Utah Jazz, before being waived and traded some more. 

D-Rose could have easily called it a day and walked away from his dream with the accolades he already had, but he was determined to heal from both his emotional and physical pain. 

"All the days that you wake up you have one job and that's to get better, every single day."

By looking after himself and working on finding a new normal, he was able to return to his passion - just like you can find love and happiness again after a break up, as long as you put yourself first. 

He never gave up, and worked tirelessly to recover and adapt his playing style to stay relevant in the NBA, earning him a title as one of the most respected players ever. 

Just like a mean game of basketball, life gives you highs and lows. Sometimes you're winning, and everything feels amazing, but sometimes you miss, and have to hustle back on defence. The main thing is to keep pushing, no matter how hard the game gets - you got this.  

Own the Feels is brought to you by #LoveBetter, a campaign funded by the Ministry for Social Development.

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