The Awe of the Giants

The basketball player is talking about his peers in the league.

The player is the best man on his team. Other players on other teams say that he’s premiere, one of the toughest guys in the game, he’s made his team relevant.

He’s been in the NBA for eight years. But he talks about his peers - many of whom are his opponents - with the reverence of a kid who just walked onto the court and is gazing up at giants. His is not the standard post-game press conference platitudes, but a soft excitement rarely seen in adults: “I get to play with these guys!”

It’s hard not to listen to him and pick up on his quiet awe. Someone could be so established, so admired, and still in such wide-eyed wonder. Wide-eyed which is not naive, but clear-eyed. He is playing with the best in the world. He is also one of the best in the world.

He is not ego-less. No one is. But his ego isn’t threatened by others’ greatness; rather the biggest parts of who he is seem enlivened by it.

As a point guard, he’s gotten better - again and again. It’s the immense, intense hours he puts in at the gym. It’s the off-season diligence on his jump shot and pick-and-roll game. And it’s not crazy to think that maybe, it’s also his awe. For awe, more than ego, can take any mere mortal into the realm of giants.

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