Leading Role Players

In the conversation around leadership, it couldn’t be more timely than to include Kevin Ollie, head coach of the University of Connecticut (UConn) Huskies. What an 18-months, what a season, what a March, what a story. And when you take time to dig a little deeper, what a story of years of hard work, years of giving, years of teaching, and profound love.

Last night, before the big game, I wanted to see what Wikipedia had to say about Coach Ollie. This paragraph pretty much says it all:

NBA player Kevin Durant in an interview with Grantland said that Kevin Ollie (who played for Oklahoma City Thunder in 2009-2010) “taught him the ropes”, and “changed the culture of Oklahoma City”. He also said, “Kevin Ollie, he was a game changer for us. I think he changed the whole culture in Oklahoma City. Just his mind set, professionalism, every single day. And we all watched that, and we all wanted to be like that. It rubbed off on Russell Westbrook, myself, Jeff Green, James Harden. And then everybody who comes through now, it’s the standard that you’ve got to live up to as a Thunder player. And it all started with Kevin Ollie.”

I got to thinking about other Kevin-like players in the NBA who do not boast impressive stats, but add something far more valuable, something that cannot be added up in the box score.

Who are the Kevin Ollie characters in our lives or who could be in our lives? Who are the people around us who have something incredible to offer, who lead by example and inspire those they serve? What platform can we provide for them to shine even more brightly?


If you have some time, read these three articles about Coach Ollie. I found the way the article Kevin Ollie: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know breaks down playing on 13 teams in 12 NBA seasons (team and salary) was especially interesting.

Last, it’s hard not to be inspired by Coach Ollie in this 18 minute talk that came from the 5 Fast Facts article above.


Sweet Sassy Molassy


We’re used to hearing about oil spills and their destructive effects on environments. Hearing about this week’s molasses spill in Honolulu Harbor, Hawaii, billed as one of Hawaii’s worst environmental disasters, gave me some additional perspective on the effect we humans have on nature.

That said, in this video, the ending comment from Dr. David Field, a marine scientist, hit a chord with me that goes beyond ecosystems and environmental landscapes.

“I think there’s going to be a lot more effects down the line that aren’t so obvious, and don’t make such a big impression, as the fish on the video do.”

While I’m not sure if this accurately fits the definition of a red herring, it does speak to the larger idea that we are often moved by what we see, and perceive, right in front of us. Rarely do we look beyond that moment, take a step back from the scene of the crime, and seek to explore what this might mean on a different level.

Granted, some situations are very hard to step out of, and see beyond that particular instance, in that particular moment. And, with attempting to see into the future, the challenge can be even greater, when it is hard to discern what those issues and effects will be down the line, when we seem to have a predicament in front of our eyes.


Last week in class we started a discussion on demography and emergence where we spent a good part of that day one’s discussion on population. The following image Scott shared with us was one of the economic effects of the financial crisis as compared to the economic effects of age-related spending to 2050.


The financial crisis certainly rocked the fiscal reality of a wide range of people. But isn’t it interesting to see that the buyouts and other big-time figures from this period, pale in comparison to the economic issues we are facing into the future with spending on our aging populations?

Aside from taking care of our aging populations, there are plenty of other things/issues/problems/<insert your word here> to take care of.

What would the world look like today if we started to take an urgent and important approach to consider non-urgent and important issues?


Today’s image to open the post I found through a Google image search, which resulted in my stumbling on an interesting post by the Rabid Conservative, “College Graduate Sues Alma Mater for Own Inability to Get Job.” Would be curious to find the original artist.

The second imagine, introduced to us in class, comes from a June 25, 2009 article from The Economist titled, “A slow-burning fuse.” The original source of this infographic comes to us from the International Monetary Fund (IMF).