The Anecdote Earns Assist ...

Jason Kidd

Long-form journalism remains a mainstay of sports.

I consider Sports Illustrated one of those pleasures up there with the “Dining Section” in the New York Times and the Red Sea blend from Philz Coffee.

A story in last week’s edition on Jason Kidd called “The Old Man And The Heat,” caught my attention.

First, it’s great to see the headline writers at SI don’t worship at the altar of the Google algorithm.

But the point of this post is to revisit one of my favorite topics, the anecdote.

This particular story kicks off with a classic.

Take a look at the first paragraph:

The first horn sounds and four Mavericks hop out of their folding chairs and rush over to the scorer’s table. Tyson Chandler turns to the crowd and flexes like a cage fighter. Jason Terry waves his arms as if he’s forming snow angels. Dirk Nowitzki and Shawn Marion find a spot on the court and fidget. Fifteen seconds pass. The second horn sounds. Only then does Jason Kidd slowly rise from his seat and join his Dallas teammates.

The writer Lee Jenkins is setting up a terrific anecdote about Kidd, the oldest starting point guard in NBA Finals history, on how he buys more rest time during games.

Here comes the anecdote:

Over 17 years a man can learn every nuance of his workplace, and this is just one quirk that Kidd has uncovered about the NBA: A full timeout lasts 100 seconds, but play does not actually resume for 115 seconds. The differential might seem insignificant, but it adds up. Each team gets six full timeouts per game, plus breaks before the second and fourth quarters. By consistently spending every possible second on the bench, Kidd accrues an extra three-plus minutes of rest per game, which is more than four hours extra per season.

Very clever.

Roughly 12 stops in play per NBA game X 15 seconds = 3 minutes.

Roughly 80 games X 3 minutes = four hours of extra rest over the course of a season.

This tells you everything you need to know about Jason’s mentality to extend his energy.

As I’ve shared time and time again, this type of storytelling technique can be applied to business communications.

More than make a company’s story more interesting – no trivial consequence in itself – the anecdote often helps reveal a company’s humanity.

If you’ve recently put an anecdote to good use (is base use possible?), please weigh in with the story.

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