The surprise of the season for the Bulls has been the play of a talented rookie named Nikola Mirotic. Mirotic is from Montenegro. The 6'10" power forward played professional ball in Europe for six years before debuting with the Bulls at the beginning of the 2015 NBA season.
Mirotic is a promising young player, and all things considered, he’s having a very impressive rookie season. I say “all things considered” because Mirotic’s play has been far from perfect this year. In fact, there's been several games where his play has been downright poor.
Now, here’s a question, when Nikola Mirotic has a bad game, do you think his coach and fellow teammates come down on him? If he misses a few shots one night, does the media report that he’ll never be a star player in the league because of one bad game? No! They understand that he’s just a rookie. His coach turns bad games into a learning experience, and the media focuses on his potential, rather than his mistakes. It would be ridiculous to expect this rookie to perform like a consistent veteran night after night.
The last two years since graduating college have been an absolute roller coaster ride. I’ve found myself thrown into full-on adulthood with all it’s stresses and responsibilities, and if I’m honest, most of the time I feel like I’m doing a pretty terrible job. Everyday I find another “adult activity” that I’m completely clueless about like filing for renter’s insurance, doing my taxes, or planning a wedding. Call me spoiled, but these were not things I needed to deal with growing up. Over the last year, I’ve hit a point probably once a week where I throw my hands in the air and say to myself, “Well Jon, you just suck at being an adult!”
It’s in these moments that I need a reminder from Nikola Mirotic. I need the reminder that I’m still basically in my rookie season as an adult. I’m still learning. I just started. I don’t come down on Mirotic if he has an off game, so what right do I have to come down on myself for not knowing how to create an investment portfolio? How can I expect myself to play like Lebron does now after 12 years, when I’ve barely been in the game for 2?
Please understand, this is not an excuse for ignorance and laziness. Just like an NBA rookie, we have to lean on our coaches and fellow teammates to learn from our bad days and use them to help us get better. Being a rookie takes humility and grace. It is only from this mindset that we will set ourselves up for a long, successful, fruitful career.