“It’s summertime, summertime, sum sum summertime, Sum sum summertime,
Summertime, summertime, sum sum summertime,
Summertime, summertime, sum sum summertime, summertime, summertime …”

If these lyrics immediately bring a melody to mind, then I know your age. If you’re not sure, check the bottom of the post for a link to this classic song by the Jamies. Actually, I knew it better when Jan & Dean sang it.

Summertime and the living is all about Nike. Yes, I know that’s a reference to a different song, but I just can’t help myself. Even though it’s still early May, for me it’s summertime because Nike summer basketball has begun again. I’ve already been to Minneapolis and Hampton, Virginia and will leave later this week for Dallas. At the end of the month I will go to Oakland.

The EYBL – Elite Youth Basketball League — is run by Nike for the forty teams that it sponsors and culminates in a summer national championship in Augusta, Georgia July 18-21. I’ve written about this before: 120 Games in 2 Days and Thoughts on My Nike Work. This involvement is tremendous for me as it keeps me in the game and also keeps me young.

Communication is talking and sharing

The word communication comes from the Latin communicatus, which means to share. In any aspect of life – work, friends, family – we must communicate. The amount of organization and communication it takes to put on one of the Nike tournaments is incredible. The ability to organize and, more importantly, to communicate what you want to do is one of the keys to success.

Can you imagine the Nike tournaments being run without officials, no scoreboard, no clock, no scorekeepers, no chairs to sit on? What about trainers, coaches, custodians, administrators? What about “details” like branding, shoes, shirts, travel and logistics arrangements? Then there are the concession stands and even the restrooms – cleanliness and maintenance. I think you get the point. All of this comes to life only through communication. There is a lot of communication necessary to put on these elite events.

You and I need to communicate with each other and all those around us to enrich and enhance our daily lives. We need to share information in an open and honest way with all those we come into contact with.

Communication is a two-way activity. You must first listen – really listen – and try to understand the other person’s problem. The real head coach and I communicate well because our first thought is, “How can I help you?” In working for Nike, my first thought is, “How can I make the tournaments better?”

Communication is one of Nike’s great assets because they are so thorough, pay attention to detail and most all, listen to others. This is a message we can apply to all phases of our lives – as a parent, as a spouse, as a co-worker, as a friend; we should always try to put the other person first.

Summertime and the living is easy – just listen and share and communicate well with everyone around you.

Quote of the Week

What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Besop’s Thought

Most of you know by now that I have always enjoyed Aesop’s Fables – I’ve adapted them for basketball and named them Besops.


The Insight: I can’t get our players to talk on defense. It sounds like a morgue during practice. Demanding, yelling and screaming don’t seem to work. The players don’t communicate, they don’t anticipate – they just react. But I refuse to give up hope that it can get better.
The Pep Talk: Don’t demand the talk; instead, sell the concept. Put LEO on your team – teach your players how to communicate Loud, Early and Often. Communicating, not just talking, is a vital factor to your team’s success, particularly on defense. Players must be able to verbally direct their teammates in order to avoid screens and in defending against transition plays. Communication is also important for team morale, both on and off the floor.

This summer start all your communication with a smile and ask, “How can I help you?” See how warm and sunny your life will become.

If you like this blog, please share it on Facebook or Twitter or forward to a friend. Thank you.

“Sum Sum Summertime” by The Jamies (1958)
“Summertime” from Porgy and Bess by George Gershwin (1934), performed by Sam Cooke


Dr. James (Jim) F. Burson is a sought-after basketball consultant and motivational speaker. He is known as a “coach’s coach” for his lifetime commitment to improving the quality of the game at all levels.

Jim is writing a book, The Golden Whistle, and authors Jim Burson’s Solution-Based Basketball (, a popular blog about basketball and life. He is strategic marketing consultant for 94Fifty, a young company with revolutionary basketball technology.

Jim is a consultant for Nike and founded its Coaches Learning Academy for youth coaches. He also evaluates Nike’s prestigious Skills Academies and Elite Youth Basketball League.