I’m at the point in my career where you search for those things to provide the fuel that goes into being motivated as a basketball player or professional.
Watching an exciting Finals and exciting playoffs this year was just fuel for me. I really want to be a part of that. I want to experience a Finals atmosphere. I want to experience that joy of winning. I’ve always, in my mind, felt I was a winner. I was built to win, and I play the game to win moreso than anything else.
As I get into my offseason training, I'm focusing a lot on my overall strength and conditioning, particularly my power and explosiveness. I feel like, in trying to get better on the NBA level throughout my career, I've really pushed myself mentally in terms of trying to educate myself on the game and my perspective on the game to try and just improve who I am as a person and hopefully it translates well on the court.
Being 27 years old and entering the prime of my career, I feel I have to catch up athletically to what I can do on the court mentally. Right now it's all about my body. I'm working on improving the explosiveness in my legs, my overall strength of my upper body and then my conditioning. I feel like, if asked to, I should be able to play a 48-minute basketball game and not get tired. I'm shooting for that type of level of conditioning.
I’ve always, in my mind, felt I was a winner. I was built to win, and I play the game to win moreso than anything else.
With the help of a trainer, I’ve begun a progressive 12-week camp to put me in the best position going into next season. I started on June 15th and I'll be going until September 15th, which will take me pretty much right up to training camp. The goal is to tone it up and by the end of it to kind of level off into the position I need to be to peak physically going into training camp for next season.
As part of this camp, I'm doing some cross sport training. I've implemented a lot of different elements when it comes to my overall core conditioning and building up my lungs: boxing, some swimming, a lot of aquatic stuff and basic sprints.
The underwater workouts take away my ability to breathe as I train, which hopefully builds up my lungs. I'm also doing a lot of sprint work, shorter distances with less rest to build up my lung capacity without so much rest. Some of my other cross training has to do with MMA and boxing a little bit.
All of this stuff is new. I've done things like this on a very small level, but to kind of focus on it within a three-month timespan — almost like a boxer or fighter's training camp as he gets ready for a match —with this level and this intensity, I've never done that. It's definitely different. It works a lot of different muscles that I obviously have needed to develop to build my lungs, my flexibility and my overall core strength.
I work out twice a day. The first session is from 9-12 in the morning at the gated community I'm living in here in Las Vegas, where I have access to an Olympic pool, some basic weights and my basketball court here at home. The second session is from 7-9 at night and I actually go to a professional facility that trains MMA fighters where I can do all my Olympic style lifting and heavier more explosive stuff that you can't do in a basic gym.
That's my routine every weekday. I'm going into my seventh year, so I'm definitely going to be getting my rest, and I do rest on Saturdays and Sundays. But Monday through Friday is pretty intense. Two times a day, and we go at it.
The thing that stuck out to me about doing my offseason training this way is the focus it requires. It's just a deeper focus vs. using the offseason to get better by staying in the gym, weight training or things of that nature.
My whole approach to this was trying to build myself into a great athlete, not just a great basketball player.
To have the kind of focus and attention to detail that a camp provides is one of a kind. It starts with my getting my proper nutrition and I have chef giving me every single meal, breakfast, lunch and dinner. I'm having massage therapy to rebuild my from any injury that I've had, such as my hamstring last year. I also have a full time trainer that is accustomed to dealing with multiple areas — not just basketball players, but well conditioned athletes period — and he helps me workout my entire body. The dietician and some other assistants may help out a little bit and I have a separate guy I work with on the basketball court, but for the most part it's one trainer.
My whole approach to this was trying to build myself into a great athlete, not just a great basketball player. The conditioning levels for a basketball player versus a boxers, versus a swimmer, versus any other sport are always going to vary. There are certain things that maybe a great conditioned athlete in another sport couldn't do on the basketball court. I'm well aware that basketball is still the primary concern but the whole idea is that cross training will build all the areas of my body that, as a basketball player, I just hadn't fulfilled up to this point.
If you ever just play fight sometimes, you realize that you get tired faster than you would running up and down a basketball court. I have an appreciation for what fighters do. There's a little craziness factor that goes into sports like that, because it's just not typical. But it has created a different mindset and outlook for me in how I approach the game of basketball.
I have a different appreciation for the conditioning stamina of a fighter to physically take punishment and withstand it for long spurts at a time. I look at a basketball game, with all the timeouts, halftime and all the "breaks" in a sense that you get from playing basketball on game night and realize I have to build myself up to have the physical strength and conditioning to withstand an entire basketball game and be at my best. The only way to be at your best is to be in your best shape.
Being in this training cycle for a couple of weeks now, the immediate response of my body has been that it's very sore. But I think that could be a byproduct of missing the last 16 games of last season and just starting up. Having three months off in general is always tough on the body. I think pushing all these muscles now that I never really used in training, within my legs and my upper body for that matter, it's a different type of training that's all brand new to me. I'll get over it though. The first month is always the most difficult. But it just becomes routine. You deal with it and get better.
I'm looking forward to my training sessions and the things that I experience this summer. Hopefully I will be a different person and player for the better next season.
To all my fans, blog readers and visitors here to my site, I appreciate your support. I’ll try to keep you up to date throughout the summer. I’m working extremely hard for you and to make myself a better player.