Thursday, March 30, 2023

Me or Us and the “History” of Tomorrow

Carlos Barroca, Associate Vice President Basketball Operations, NBA Asia

What does a basketball “expert” have to say about education, community life, non-material values and the future? What does Basketball have to do with life?

We are talking about a new game (only 129 years old), education, teaching and learning. And is Basketball a mere exercise of “me” or the accomplishment of “us”? Is there life without “us”? Can we teach and learn, educate without “us”? Prémio magazine challenged and I to try to come up with an answer.

Basketball inspired me and made me “look” at the past in order to “see” the future. I define the concept underlying the objective, I watch, I conduct the diagnosis and I design the action plan. Then comes implementation: teach, inspire and connect.

The human being has always moved in search of food and shelter. And has always acted with an innate survival instinct. The existence of “us” is also born out of the instinct to ensure continuity of the species and is intrinsically linked to the issue of leadership and decision. Since the beginning of time, “me” and “us” have always walked side by side.

We jumped in time and we left the caves or the isolation of the forests to come closer to the water sources. We had access to new sources of food, and the connection to water gave us the possibility to travel. More population, more resources, more interaction and emerging socialization with different types of leadership. In addition to the direct production of consumer products, multiple activities appeared, including entertainment. In times of peace the basic activities of human gestures became true competitions: running, jumping, fighting… and human association, which is based on food and security, inevitably generated different concepts of leadership and power.

From the initial palisades, more and more sophisticated and larger forts were created, protecting their inhabitants from outside invasions, with cannons pointing outwards, most of the time to the sea, where invaders usually came from. In times of peace, music and entertainment were there when we were not producing. But the cannons pointing outwards have never protected humanity from diseases that, linked or not with the terrible living conditions in cities, did appear. And, as people were already traveling, the spread of diseases occurred. Millions of people died without the capacity to respond to pandemics. And everything stopped.

That is why I gave this text the title “Me and Us? And the History of Tomorrow”! Has “me” been replaced by “us”? Is there really “me” or is there only “me” insofar as there are exacerbated egos?

I create the concept and define the objective Can I think of “my” game of Basketball as “me”… isolated from all the rest? I definitely can’t! There is no basketball without people, there is no education without people and there is no human life if we do not exist as a species. There is no “me”!

And maybe this is where Basketball meets life. How to survive this new Disease? The vaccine is called “us”!

Note: We are billions, increasingly concentrated in larger and larger cities and we need huge food resources. We want more room and consume more natural resources. There is no “me”! We are all, in one way or another, associated with “teams”. We are Countries, races, gender, religion, clubs, social strata, companies, but we persist in erratic behaviour that often insist on “me” alone.

Diagnosis: We are accelerating the destruction of natural resources, we are destroying the planet.

This is my plan: We have to point the cannons of the Forts to the inside as quickly as possible as the danger does not come from outside; transforming the “me” into “us”, using resources in a sustainable way. The solution lies in stopping growth focused only on results, on profit at the expense of destroying everything around us.

It’s time to act: Educate, in every dimension of the word. Education for all, at all levels. Basketball, mine which is also ours, which is also or essentially education.

As a coach, “my” success does not depend on me, I train people; as a leader I work with people, as a leader of organizations I lead people. Everyone’s success helps me succeed too.

The History of Tomorrow is built by flying in time in order to learn more, without being afraid of using intelligence, innovation, science and technology. This can be achieved with teams that are not afraid to make mistakes, to dream, to speak or to suggest, formed by “many us” who think as “us” and therefore progress, adjust and achieve results, in a perpetual movement.

We have the power to inspire others, with skills and smiles, because we work with children and with them we are able to learn more and more and we can get all the energy we need from them. The solution has to lie in each every one of us and Education is thus the only way forward! But educating children must be go hand in hand with educating adults.

Covid-19 is like a wake-up call for humanity, and we now have a vaccine that may help us solve the problem. But if we keep destroying our “home” there will be there no vaccine to help us. There is no vaccine for stupidity or extremism in whatever form. The vaccine to fight the “me” madness is called “us”!

I love basketball. If we play together all dreams are possible. The game is only possible because there is human life and defending it is, in our generation, the most important game to play. And I don’t exaggerate if I say that we are playing an extension or “a time-out”.

I believe in education, in science and most of all, in humanity. I am a teacher, after all!

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