I swear I’ll stop posting about the Cavs soon. Really. But here’s the thing. Even if you’re not a Cavs fan, there are lessons to be learned from these NBA Finals.
For math-focused kids, have them look at the statistics of the finals. The most important one:
LeBron James: led all players on both teams in points, rebounds, assists, steals and blocks in series.
Here’s a great ESPN clip talking about the Block, when LeBron James crossed the court near the end of game seven for an epic block of an easy layup that could have tied the game.
Also an opportunity to discuss the human body, in regards to injuries that different athletes sustain and how best to care for your body. Perhaps a lesson about nutrition fits in here (as well as a practical look at the costs vs. benefits of dietary supplements – look for the reliable studies, not the company-funded ones)
LeBron James’s story follows the classic arc of the Bildungsroman, storytelling at its finest. Read about it here, then challenge your kid to find other examples in literature. Compare and contrast.
Watch videos of the series. Or just find a replay of game 7. The rematch, the evenness of points going into game 7, the back and forth all game long, ending with The Block, The Shot, and The Stop.
Kyrie’s Shot and Kevin Love’s Stop
This one is obvious. Basketball. Play the game.
Look into what was going on in the world back in 1964 when Cleveland had last won a championship. Look at how much the world has changed over fifty-two years.
Well, I wouldn’t recommend watching the rally, unless you want LeBron James to add color to your child’s vocabulary. I personally wasn’t bothered by it; I find cursing the least troubling of offenses a kid can commit and thus laughing at the censors’ inability to bleep his speech effectively.
But really, have them read news stories about the finals. Gather a list of sports-related vocabulary words. Have them work it into conversation. Have them read people’s blog posts responding to the game. Have them write one of their own.
Discuss the money involved in basketball. Not just salaries (and salary caps that would limit teams from recruiting other players), but also revenue. How does the NBA and the team make money? Consider the other benefits of a winning team on a city. Restaurants in downtown Cleveland profited greatly each time the Cavs played, as did stores selling pro-Cleveland t-shirts and other paraphernalia. Parking lots were filled, bars were packed, people were happy (and thus more generous). Contrast this to what happens when the team loses. Talk about marketing, where the money flows, advertising.
This is also a great context to discuss money management. A quick Google search for ‘money management athlete’ shows several articles including this one about how earning a great salary doesn’t always equate to financial security.
The point is, just because your kids are totally focused on sports doesn’t mean they’re not learning a lot, or that you don’t have the opportunity to teach them a lot. They’re just offering you a context in which to teach them what they need to know. And the more you tie these topics into a subject they’re interested in, the more easily you will be able to answer the question “When am I going to ever use this in real life?”