3 Important Business Lessons I Learned From Playing Rec League Basketball

Note: I may or may not have pulled a hammy just writing this.

Is 30 seconds into a game too soon to yell for a sub? Asking for a friend.

It’s been a few years, but I used to really enjoy playing in a men’s recreational basketball league. I usually have some good friends on the team with me, it’s a great workout, and it’s nice to exercise a skill that you spent so much of your life honing. I mean, seriously…I owe my 15-year-old self at least that.

I was never great at basketball, but I had a little game back in the day. I’ve lost a step or two (ahem…..or three. Ok…fine…probably four. Shut up.) since then, but I can still hold my own.

Playing in a rec league, though, teaches you things. A lot of the lessons are different versions of humility, to be honest, but some are translatable to other areas of life.

1. You can’t do certain things anymore.

Listen champ, the sooner your mind catches up with your body, the better. I don’t have the same first step as I used to, so driving baseline isn’t an option anymore. Took me a whole season to learn that one. And guess what? That season suuuucked.

But, when you’re able to constantly reinvent your game to your changing abilities, then you’ll always be in the game. #baller

2. Get over it already.

The coach that cut you freshman year is not in the stands watching you with regret. Every opponent team has that guy (if you’re lucky, there’s only one) that is there solely to make up for his high school shortcomings. Bro, quit calling out plays and screaming at your team. You look like a douche and it’s probably because you’re a douche.

Chips on shoulders are only weights that hold you back or slow you down. Learn from them. Then ditch them and get on with it.

3. Get open. Get the ball. Throw a head fake and hit a shot.

This one’s a biggie, folks. For me, as an Indian guy on the court…there’s not really a frame of reference for others to assume I can play. Remember that one Indian player in the NBA? Me neither, because he doesn’t exist.

Pictured above: The Indian player in the NBA.

It’s not really “racism,” but it’s a good way for me to remember to never, ever accept people’s assumptions. Respect is not something you can expect, nor is it something you ask for. You have to step up and earn that shit. Now, their opinions shouldn’t matter to you anyway, but letting them know they were wrong about you changes them, changes you, and changes the dynamic of the entire game — a change worth making.

Let it be known: The first time I get the ball in every game, I’m looking to hit a jumper in your face. If there wasn’t a frame of reference before…then BAM. There is now. You better D up.

In business and basketball, be sure to celebrate the victories as you go. Not all of them are going to be huge, but they all took work.


Vijoy Rao || Founder // Magic Room Brand
When you’re doing something you love, there’s no room for compromise.

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