Even the most non-athletic person on the planet can’t deny the awe one feels watching professionals excel on the field, the court, and everywhere in between. It’s understood that there’s a certain amount of sacrifice that comes with the territory and an unwavering discipline that’s necessary to compete on a pro level, but only the men and women in those shoes can tell you what it really took for them to get to the top in their profession.
During the ESPY Awards at the Dolby Theater in Los Angeles this Wednesday, we asked the stars we caught up with on the red carpet what their one piece of advice would be for someone watching them at home who wants to step into their shoes, and the tips ranged from personal to practical.
“Be you,” said Australian basketball player Liz Cambage who plays for the Los Angeles Sparks. “Every person has a gift and being you is that gift so just be you, baby.”
Former NBA player Dikembe Mutombo stressed the importance of having an end game in mind. “First you need to be motivated and then you have to be self-aware of what is happening in your career and you need to have goals,” he said. “You cannot serve a goal without going to sleep and dreaming about it and how you’re going to accomplish those goals. Every goal that you set comes with different stages and you have to figure out how you’re going to get to those stages 1, by 2, and 3 to 5.”
Basketball player Iman Shumpert, who’s currently a free agent, spoke to the need to believe in your vision and what’s already inside of you. “Be comfortable. Part of the thing that people didn’t like about me is my gift at the same time. We as a people have this idea that because this one little area over here didn’t like it that it just doesn’t work,” explained. I would push to the younger generation that it’s a lot of things that work we just gotta get ’em in the right position, with the right timing, at the right age. A lot of the things that we all want to do we can do. You just gotta be able to set up the plan, get the infrastructure, and then go get the money.”
Check out advice from Allyson Felix, Jordan Chiles, Grant Williams, and more in the video above.