Rule #1: Have Courage

As we come to the final rule in our series 78 Rules for the Wizards Undrafted Lottery Pick, we've seen plenty of quotes from people closely associated with the game of basketball.  For Rule #1 we're going to stray from that path a little bit.  But as you'll see, both of these men are qualified to speak on just about any matter since both were once the leader of the free world.

It is time for the great silent majority of Americans to stand up and be counted.

-Richard Nixon

One man with courage makes a majority.

-Andrew Jackson

It takes courage to stand up and be counted, but with that courage you can become the majority, even if no one is standing with you.  In times like this, you need the kind of courage that can shift majorities.

After years of people coddling you and telling you that you could do no wrong, now that you've entered the draft, it seems like all people can do is focus on your weaknesses.  Maybe you haven't admitted it out loud, but deep down inside you know that you've started to doubt if you're really good enough to make in this league.  Don't worry, you're not the only player that has had this anxiety before the draft.  All the greats had it, and so did all the failures.  The pressure you feel right now isn't what separates the best from the busts.  What separates the wheat from the chaff is how you handle the pressure that you're feeling right now.

There's no one way to handle the pressure that you're facing right now, because every situation comes with its own unique challenges.  The one common thread between all of those who succeeded is that no one made it without courage.  By itself, courage won't be enough to make you successful in the NBA, but it's been a key ingredient in every basketball success story.

Courage can manifest itself in a number of ways on the basketball court.  It gives you the boldness to throw a small body into a forest of trees.  It allows you to keep your poise as you take the game-winning shot with a defender coming straight at you.  And it gives you the strength to get on the court when your body says no.  There's no way to know how your courage will shine through you when you take the court in the NBA, but odds are if you have courage, it won't take long to reveal itself.

Now as you get ready to start playing basketball at a professional level, let your courage shine through.  You've got the skills, now it's time to show the team that picked you what kind of heart you possess.  Good luck.

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