What I've Learned

"I don’t care even if I score only one point as long as we win." —Robert Jaworski

Basketball legend Robert Jaworski gives us a few tips on being a team player on the court and in life.
IMAGE Courtesy of Ginebra
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WHAT I'VE LEARNED

ROBERT JAWORSKI

73, coach and basketball legend

IMAGE: Courtesy of Ginebra

It is always great to be a part of history, particularly when you are with a team that is now celebrating 40 years. I feel we have become part of our country’s history and memories, where we have always given people that window for just having fun while relaxing and enjoying the game.

Teamwork is very important. At Ginebra, we have always worked on the spirit of unity. We are always trying to do our share no matter how weak or strong we are. We are always sacrificing for the team, and that is the essence of family. I think that is what fans appreciated the most.

We tried to stay away from selfish ego-tripping, we were just there together to have fun. At the same time, we have that understanding that people came over to watch a good game and that it was important that we give back to them.

Play with heart. On October 22, 1985, I was injured during a game and I was brought to the hospital for stitches. I came back right after the procedure. That was because I felt a responsibility to the team somehow. Even if I couldn’t play, I felt that my presence would probably help. They say that incident was what gave rise to the Ginebra Never-Say-Die slogan.

On October 22, 1985, I was injured during a game and I was brought to the hospital for stitches. I came back right after the procedure. That was because I felt a responsibility to the team somehow.

IMAGE: Courtesy of Ginebra

The spirit of oneness is important in any team effort. Anytime you forget about self-interest, not worrying about how many points you make but doing whatever is needed when there is a space available for you to help, that is going to be a very big element that can keep that fire, that desire to win working for your team.    

Sometimes the simple act of standing up just to meet a guy who made a mistake, to rally him on, or to congratulate him because he did something great is going to be a great help towards the success of your team.

It is important to apply that Never-Say-Die attitude in your own life. You have to understand, generally, what is wrong is that a lot of people think they can’t make it without even trying. Even in swimming—you won’t learn to swim, not unless you get in the water. That is what life is about, sometimes you have struggles but you have to give it your best try.

The moment you give up, you will never get anywhere.

People want to see hard work and passion. My feeling is the same. Whenever I watch singing contests, for example, even if the contestant is sintonado, what gets my heart is the eyes that are gleaming with some degree of passion. That is what makes the difference.

If I were to choose between the super-talented but complacent or the one who shows a desire to work hard, I will choose the latter, because when things get tough, the one who is tough gets tougher.

In playing for a basketball championship, looking for a job, or with getting good grades in your studies, make it a habit to always do your best and to give your work positive thoughts.

Sometimes, poverty makes it difficult to dream, but you must reverse that thought and be ready to face life’s challenges.

IMAGE: Courtesy of Ginebra

You cannot start with a negative attitude toward your dream because you will begin with a mistake. Always keep hope alive in your heart because that is the only key to move forward.

Never forget those who have supported you along the way. I will tell you honestly that I have been blessed with the support of the Ginebra fans. I pray for people who I don’t personally know, because they have energized me in many instances throughout my career.

In basketball and in life, there are boundaries. On the court, there are referees and the public also sees your actions. You have to toe the line.

While I was playing, what goes through my mind is that I have to do a good job. I don’t care even if I score only one point, if I can’t do it, I don’t care. I can pass (the ball) the whole night, as long as we win.

Start with a strategy, for offense and for defense. Sometimes, poverty makes it difficult to dream, but you must reverse that thought and be ready to face life’s challenges.

Push yourself towards your dream: that is what never-say-die is about.   

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