The Success of Kawhi Leonard, the 2019 Raptors, and Superfan Nav. “Armchair Human Behaviourist” Breaks It Down.

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Following the epic victory parade in downtown Toronto on Monday, the questions on on the minds of Raptors fans are: Where’s Kawhi Leonard going next? And more importantly, what is HE thinking??

So let’s have some fun and time for me to play “Armchair Human Behaviourist”!

I’m fascinated by what drives individuals to achieve mastery.

As a life performance coach and therapist, understanding things such as an individual’s personality traits, historical background and family interpersonal relationships provides me with a blueprint or a snapshot of what motivates someone and even how someone might make decisions or what kinds of values that person may have.

While this is just for fun and these are just things I am assuming based on my limited observations and details, I thought we can discuss the popularity of Kawhi Leonard and some of the variables that might factor into his decisions during free agency.

We’ll also discuss the role of chemistry in success and winning, and what big life lesson I learned from Raptors Superfan Nav.

Kawhi Leonard

I have previously written about the differences between extroverts and introverts. And although Western society is more favourable toward extroverted qualities when it comes to success, my sense is that Kawhi Leonard is on the introverted end of the spectrum.

Not only that, it appears his popularity is directly as a result of his assumed introverted qualities: I’ve heard him described as “stoic”, “quiet” and when he does speak, it’s straight to the point and apparently “f that, let’s get both” when the team meeting initially suggested that they should aim to win one of two in Oakland.

But the one thing he has shown is that he is committed to getting the job done and it turns out, he’s really good at it. World class, in fact.

In my experience, many introverts can get frustrated by their work “not speaking for itself”. It turns out, with Kawhi, his style and quality of play has done that and more from what is being reported and by the fan base.

As for free agency, clearly there are a lot of moving parts and representation and some forth, but again, based on the little bit that I’ve heard and observed about Kawhi, he appears to value relationships and to have a deeper understanding of his value to an organization.

It was reported that when he was first traded, Kawhi asked Raptors president Masai Ujiri, why they had wanted him. That question would suggest to me that he’s someone who has a curiosity to understand how he can contribute and what’s expected of him. Not everyone would ask this specific question.

To me, this speaks to Kawhi being a guy who has a desire to more deeply understand how he fits into the organizational puzzle and what that would potentially mean for him.

Additionally, I have heard it mentioned numerous times that he has credited his success this year to the Raptors organization working collaboratively with him so that he was best set up for him to play optimally.

He expresses gratitude and appears to see the value in having a organization working with him. Perhaps loyalty to shared values is one of his qualities, too.

This is a bit of a stretch, and this is me leaning into my baseball comfort zone here, but perhaps a possible comparison can be made here for Mike Trout who elected NOT to go into free agency to sign with the Angels. Again, maybe a stretch and completely different sports, but these are two athletes at the top of their professions, who appear to be more on the introversion end of the spectrum, who may work/think/act very similarly.

Wouldn’t it be great (especially for those of us in Toronto) if Kawhi Leonard gave preferential treatment to a team he knows shares his values?

Success and Team Chemistry? Is There a Connection?

I mentioned earlier that I am a student of learning what makes people good at what they do. Working with many accomplished people since 2009, I have learned so much about the different ways that individuals are talented, motivated and work toward growth and achievements.

But since my work is exclusively with individuals, I have a very specific curiosity about what are the components that are a part of a team’s success, and the role of chemistry within it.

I know there’s quite a division between folks who are all about talent and stats versus those who believe that clubhouse chemistry is a big factor.

Not having the privilege, experience or hard work of being around and observing teams who are professional and operate on an elite level, I asked the two experienced hosts of The Spin to provide me with their take on team chemistry.

Valuable Life Lesson Confirmed to Me by Nav Bhatia, Raptors Superfan

I like to think that one of my strengths is that I look for a lesson in most everything. And as I was thinking about all that’s happened during this 2019 Raptors run to the championship, I found myself thinking a lot about Raptors Superfan Nav Bhatia.

I’m sure I’m not alone when I’m working on things and feeling stuck or discouraged, wondering if any of it would ever amount to anything.

But here’s Nav, who’s been attending Raptors games from the beginning. He’s been grinding as a fan, and a businessman, for the past 25 years!

Not only that, he has shown grace, humility and generosity which no doubt has abundant impact in all areas of his life.

And look at Nav now!

An honourary marshall as part of the Raptors Victory Parade! National, nay, INTERNATIONAL attention for not only being an unwavering Raptors fan, but also for the quality of person he is.

I feel he’s truly an inspiration for working hard and sticking with it, all while maintaining compassion. Also a reflection of what’s possible to achieve when taking and RUNNING with the opportunities that can be found, specifically here in Canada.

These are all examples of people doing exceptional things, but especially when we are able to unpack that these accomplishments are in large part to consistently built and repeated human behvaiours, it’s a reminder that we all have the ability to do exceptional things, too.

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