The Day Job vs. Side Passions Dilemma via Baron Davis

Every team — corporate or athletic — needs a motherfucker. Baron Davis, a superstar point guard and one of the leading talents in the NBA, is the Los Angeles Clippers’ motherfucker.

Or is he? Sports Illustrated has a great feature on Baron in their latest issue. At 29 years old, Baron probably maintains one of the most active and interesting personal lives of any NBA player — he lectures Congress on health issues and the inner-city obesity crisis, consulted with Barack Obama during the campaign, cites Malcolm Gladwell when explaining social phenomena, produces documentaries, invests in internet start-ups. All good right? Maybe not, if it distracts from his day job:

When you’ve been involved in a successful presidential campaign, produced an Oscar-worthy documentary and include among your goals for 2009 brokering a truce among Bloods, Crips and Latino gangs, it’s easy to see how tossing a ball into a basket against, say, the Milwaukee Bucks could seem somewhat trifling. And while Davis won’t cop to it, there is a sense in some corners that his extracurricular activities have exacted a price on his basketball…

Davis is finding out that the line between being perceived as a Renaissance man or a dilettante can be a fine one. Asked about Davis’s competitive resolve, Hornets coach Byron Scott says tepidly, “My take on him is that he’s a very talented point guard, and I’ll leave it at that.” Recently, Roper, the Crossroads coach who now works for Davis’s foundation, had a heart-to-heart with his former player. “I told him we all get distracted by what’s attainable and obtainable, but first and foremost, you’re a basketball player. Focus on what made you what you are. I want to see you be an All-Star for the next four or five years and turn the Clippers around. Movies and whatnot can wait.”

My buddy Kevin Arnovitz, who writes about the NBA for ESPN.com, has an interesting re-frame:

Here’s a question: Would you take umbrage — both as a parent and as a taxpayer — if you learned that your kid’s fifth grade public school teacher was coming into the classroom a little less prepared this semester because she’s been serving as the chair of a cancer research walk-a-thon, which requires as much as 15 hours a week of her free time, time she’d otherwise spend composing lesson plans? What if her side project wasn’t a charity? What if she were spending those hours starting a business that indulged one of her many passions outside the classroom?

In this scenario, no, I wouldn’t mind. But what if I were CEO of a company with an employee who decided to indulge her many passions outside of work to the tune of 15-20 hours a week? I’d like to think I’d be supportive, if it didn’t prove too distracting, though I can’t be sure. There are no easy answers to the day job vs. side passions dilemma that so many of us face.

Related Post: Are You Your Team’s Motherfucker? In the comments, Chris Yeh says he is a “situational motherfucker” but claims he can “step up to full motherfuckerhood when necessary.”

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