It’s the dawn of unsuspecting weekday, you’re going about your regular routine. Nothing particular occurs until you hear the headline: Kawhi Leonard sits out for another game to load manage. You think to yourself, load manage? How do you get paid millions to “load manage”. Aren’t you a professional athlete? Don’t you have the best doctors in the world? Why are you sitting out if you’re not hurt or injured? Load manage? What preposterous concept is this?
“I wish I could load manage. ” I the thought you think when you go about your everyday routine grinding to get a fraction of what Kawhi Leonard receives.
However, you can. In fact, we do every day.
See, this sports concept of load management is not a new inquiry. But it is out of the norm. There is this “ American “ concept of pulling up our bootstraps and working every day. The harder the worker, the more impressive. If you’re not up at 5 am you’re not working hard enough. If you’re not persevering every day, you’re not completing something.
When In fact, the most successful people don’t work hard. They work smart. Kawhi Leonard recently won an NBA championship by working smart. We can debate the details of if the Warriors were healthy or if that game seven buzzer-beater didn’t happen. But the truth of the matter is the history books will determine that Kawhi worked smart and captured his second title. How did he do it? Load managing. He took days off. Resting his body so he could be fully prepared for the playoffs.
Even in the playoffs, he looked gimpy at times. It goes to show, we can fight through something. However, we must know when to. He fought threw injury when it mattered. Not during some regular-season game that will be washed in time.
Let’s take a step back and understand Load Management
Load management is a concern in the NBA that has GMS and owners panicking in search of answers. The overgrowing problem stems from the rising player empowerment movement that has players wielding a tight lease on NBA teams. Nowadays players are determining their destinies, forcing teams to adjust at a pace they can’t keep up with. The hurricane of player empowerment is dowsing the NBA world with a feverish rain. A rain that’s cleansing the pain so many NBA players have felt over the decades in attempting to own their brands.
The question is, is this rain really drowning the NBA? Or is it dowsing the firestorm that engulfs athletes and burns them out every day? It’s so much more. It is a message to our bosses that we are not just tools for their entertainment. Load management is another addition to the inspiration that is NBA player empowerment
In order to understand this claim, we must understand load management. Load management is described by Ric Bucher in a bleacher report post as
“As some owners and team executives see it, managing a player’s physical exertion over the course of a season to avoid injury is simply smart business aimed at protecting a team’s most valuable asset—its star players—from being put out of commission.”
Disclaimer, this is not to discredit the regular season in any way. This is to promote self-care and working smart.
However, in understanding load management we begin to comprehend it’s the significance and why it is so valuable to Athletes and everyday people. Load management is essentially taking care of your body so that you can run the marathon. Kawhi’s career isn’t a sprint, it’s a marathon. He’s chasing longevity over right now. And it is proving to bode some great fruits. Now there’ the age-old concept of Athletes that played all 82 games. Yes, this is a conversation. However, Science evolves and we learn more and more about players every day. Certain players need to load manage. Kawhi is one of them.
Imagine T-Mac load managing and how great of a career he could’ve had. We can’t, because his career is over and riddled with injuries. Now, all we have is memories and what-ifs.
Counterargument, we cannot determine what-ifs, because what if he didn’t get injured at all? We’ll never know. That’s a conversation for another day. The focus here is on taking care of you, and not allowing the overarching capitalist society to drain you.
Now the question comes up, how does this relate to you?
It always relates to you. Sports are not just entertainment, they are conduits to our everyday lives. They are similes to who we are. How many times have you taken a rest day to get your Harding’s straight? How many times have you called out during work? If you don’t, you should. Make sure you’re taking care of YOU. Because you are a business and if you can’t function then what?
That job that’s so important will replace you in an instant. No, you’re not replaceable, much like Kawhi. However, your job will find a way to replace you.
If Kawhi had a devastating injury that ended his career right now the Clippers would have to find someone new for that roster spot.
Now, yes, Kawhi makes millions, however, his difference in income shouldn’t stop you from believing you can’t load manage. Kawhi can be traded away, or even cut just like you can from your job. His likely hood of doing so is proportionately smaller than yours. However, that gap isn’t as large as we make it. The million are the only significant difference. And plenty of Athletes have blown their money right after their careers. That is also another conversation.
See it’s as simple as this. NBA players are blue-collar people who happen to make millions. They have bosses, just like us. They go to work every day, just like us. Their bosses will fire them, cut their contracts, just like us.
Many NBA players have been ousted out of the league over time. The NBA is a business, the player’s bodies are their workforce, their currency. When a player’s body is no more, they plug in another player. What Kawhi is doing is preserving his body so he can play for a long time. So he can accomplish his goals. Kawhi’s body isn’t completely healthy, so he manages his load. Like I said before, he’s making sure he’s ready to go, making sure he can produce when it matters. Much like us, our bodies are our best merchandise, if we can’t go we can’t make money, or work. So we must rest from time to time. Call out of work, your job will replace you in a heartbeat. If you die, they wouldn’t even help pay for your funeral.
Kawhi’s only difference is that he is making a lot of money. Now that’s an enormous difference however that’s the only difference. It’s time we start remembering these athletes are human beings too. They aren’t robots designed to just entertain us on a random Tuesday night. They need rest too. They go out on weekends too. They work hard just like we do.
Load manage your body. Take that time off. Work smarter not harder.
last disclaimer, I don’t mean call out every time you’re not feeling your job. I mean take care of yourself. Work hard, show up to work every day. But don’t break your back for organizations that will get rid of you in an instant. Don’t destroy yourself, especially for things that you aren’t passionate about. Your body is your most powerful asset, If it isn’t functioning properly, how will you be able to sell your enterprise? That is why Load management is so important in today’s culture. It is time we denounce this notion that destroying yourself for someone else’s financial gain will grow trees for your harvest.
Take care of yourself.
Thank you for reading,