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  • Peter Miller

SGG #55: Sidney Moncrief: “Love what you do and do what you love…and change the world!”


Coaches are important educational leaders in our schools, communities, and universities. The Sport and the Growing Good (SGG) podcast provides embedded, front-line insights on winning and positive development. The SGG podcast can be heard here and on all major podcast platforms.

Sidney Moncrief was an NBA superstar with the Milwaukee Bucks, earning countless awards and accomplishments, including the ultimate honor of being selected into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame. Sidney’s successes are not limited to the court, as he’s also emerged as a leader in business, coaching, writing, and consulting. In our conversation in the SGG podcast, we discussed:

1.  What he learned from his high school coach, the legendary Oliver Elders: “He placed a very high emphasis on being a quality person. That superseded anything you did on the court… He made us realize that life was much more than just basketball.”

2.  “We knew he cared about us as people.”

3.  “Your impact lasts beyond those three or four years that you have with those players. It’s going to stay with them for a lifetime. If you instill just selfishness and you caring about being a winning coach without caring about them academically or as people, that’s what they’re going to spill out for the rest of their life. If you show them love, you show them compassion, you show them that accountability matters, that being a good teammate matters, being a good person matters, character matters, that’s what they’re going to show for the rest of their lives.”

4.  The critical time that Coach Eddie Sutton offered compliments to Sidney and his teammates – an occasion that built their confidence and spurred them on to the Final Four the next season.

5.  The importance of Coach Sutton’s assistant coaches giving him advice to instill confidence in his players… and Coach Sutton’s willingness to listen to them.

6.  What it felt like to get “called to the coach’s office.”

7.  “Greatness was not even part of our mindset. He interjected that greatness theory.”

8.  The importance of timing in coaches’ conversations with their teams.

9.  His wake-up call to the physicality of the NBA – and how Coach Don Nelson guided him to playing defense at the highest level.

10.  The thing that really makes you a great coach: Maintaining high expectations of players.

11.  “Players today need to know why they’re doing certain things.”

12.  The influence of his upbringing on his development as a tenacious competitor.

13.  The importance of having experienced players as models for younger ones to learn from.

14.  Discipline as an everyday part of life.

15.  His new book.

16.  Exercise, rest, rejuvenation, and personal care: “There’s only so much film you should be watching…The players don’t get the best you when you’re constantly watching film and are constantly stressed out.”

17.  Knowing and respecting the different motivations that players bring to the table.

18.  What he means by “tenacity” in his new book. “Pace, aggressiveness, focus, determination…”

19.  “Love what you do and do what you love…and change the world!”