5 Things We Learned From High Flying Bird
High Flying Bird is a basketball movie that recently came out on Netflix. It’s a movie about the relationship between a sports agent and his rookie client during an NBA lockout. The sports agent pitches a controversial business proposition that uncovers the true power of athletes as well as take a deeper dive into the business of sports.
High Flying Bird is great for many reasons including the fact it was filmed only on an I phone which gives it an intimate feeling of being in the moment. More importantly, the movie really tackles some hard hitting themes in the world of sports, control, leverage, and overall athlete development on and off the court.
We don’t want to give away too much but here are 5 things we learned from High Flying Bird:
Build a Nest Egg
In the movie, the NBA players are dealing with a lockout from the NBA owners. A lockout is the exclusion of employees by their employer from their place of work until certain terms are met. During a lockout, players aren’t getting paid. This usually gets stressful for NBA players considering what they are use to getting compensated and the bills they have at hand. It’s important for athletes to have the foresight to always plan for a rainy day. It’s vital to build a nest egg so when times like a lockout come you aren’t stressed waiting for a paycheck. Agent Ray Burke complains that he doesn’t think the NBA players collectively will be ready to hold firm during a lockout because not enough people have built a nest egg to fight for what they want. When dealing with a lock out with owners, it’s important to understand how much owners have in their arsenal. Owners are worth billions of dollars while professional athletes are worth millions and that is not everyone. Not only do owners have a nest egg but multiple sources of income to help hold firm. This just speaks to the importance of having a nest egg not only during a lock out but for life in general.
The Game OVER The Game
Spence, the longtime community basketball coach dives in on the topic “The Game OVER The Game” when talking about the business of sports and control as athletes. He says that athletes are too busy playing the game that they don’t realize that a whole other game is being played on top of their game. Spence is speaking on the fact, that the business of sports goes well beyond how many points you can score and how high you can jump. As players it’s important to understand that you have to be good at both games in order to truly be in control of your career.
Agent Ray Burke gives his client, rookie Erick Scott sound advice to open up the movie. “Don’t take a loan that you can’t pay back” Erik feels the pressure of not getting paid after he left school to pursue the NBA only to have to deal with a lock out. A gentleman loans him money to “help him during this stressful time.” Little did Erick know that he was just prey to a loan shark. Erick is liable to whatever he was loaned plus interest because he was not able to see the bigger picture. Ray takes him through the scenario and asks him why would someone like that be so eager to help him out now?
It’s important for athletes to take note of the different predators that are waiting to pounce when their is blood in the water. Every year, you see athletes in litigation because of similar situations like this. Before you decide to take money make sure you understand the legal ramifications behind it.
High Flying Bird gives a great example of how important it is to have a strong team and support system around you. Jamero Umber, the other top pick in the draft that will be playing with Erik, has his mother and older brother for support. Jamero is able to leverage and negotiate firmly because he has a strong team in place. His mother handles all pertinent matters involving Jamero’s career and for everything she can’t, they have a family lawyer to handle.
Not every athlete has family capable of taking the mantle. However, athletes do have the ability to pick the right team to help them feel protected. It takes a lot of due diligence and hard hitting questions but all is fair when it comes to your career. As an athlete, the stronger your team is, the better chance you will give yourself to be successful on and off the court.
Ray Burke understands what’s a stake if a lock out were to transpire and he makes an effort to avoid a long lock out at all cost. His business idea to get the NBA back on, is a great journey in understanding the most important issue at hand…Money. When you hit someone’s pockets, you will get them to the table. His pitch gives athletes a hint to how much power they really have and what is most important at the end of the day, if they want to get their voice heard. His business idea takes the audience through a scenario of what would happen if athletes controlled their own story.