Week 28(Day 1): Go the Distance

Ephesians 5:15-20 
15 So be careful how you live. Don’t live like fools, but like those who are wise. 

Pat Williams surrounds himself with mentors that would help him win in his career as an NBA Executive. 

Pat Williams was first a baseball player turned front office material because he had the potential to lead a team. And when people had told him of this, he made sure he asked the right person for proper guidance. One such person was R. E. Little-john. Pat’s father died before he became a general manager of a team, and R. E. Little-john became his surrogate father. They would always talk about the game, about the team, and also about life. Even though they weren’t able to see each other from time to time because of work, Pat made sure that he would call R. E. Little-john to have a conversation with him. That helped Pat learn a lot from his transition from being a baseball player to leading an NBA team.

Pat lead the 1982-1983 Philadelphia 76ers into winning an NBA title by bringing in and drafting players that could become a Dynasty –a term used for a team who have won numerous Championships. But after their one year run, Pat got a phone call from an executive in Orlando trying to put an NBA team there. And Pat did everything to push the NBA Commissioner at the time, David Stern, to make it happen. Pat instantly became the General Manager of the team which in his stint and drafted superstars such as Shaquille O’Neal and Penny Hardaway that led to an NBA appearance in 1995. Thereafter being promoted to become the Senior Vice President of the Orlando Magic up to today.

In his NBA career, Williams lead his teams to 23 NBA Playoffs and five NBA Finals. He won four NBA draft lotteries, including back-to-back winners in 1992 and 1993 and most recently in 2004. Williams signed Billy Cunningham, Chuck Daly, and Matt Guokas into their first professional coaching contracts. Nineteen of his former players have become NBA head coaches.

Williams said that his key to his success is surrounding himself with mentors that he thought would help him grow as a person and as an NBA Executive. He made sure he would first talk to his mentors first before making a big move for himself or for the team. 

Pat Williams’ had guidelines for having a good relationship with your mentor: First, seek out mentors. He said that we should not be afraid to ask for help because it would be a huge improvement in making good decisions in life. Second, find mentors in different areas. What he meant was that we need to surround ourselves with people that could help us in the different aspects of life. That’s why in Ephesians 5:15 it is said that,”So be careful how you live. Don’t live like fools, but like those who are wise.” And people that are wise have also gained wisdom from those who are wise. And last, Williams said that, we should follow our mentor’s advice. Because the only way this would work is not just to listen but to follow. True understanding of our mentor comes with obedience.

Proverbs 11:4,”Without guidance, people fall.”

The Greatest Leader Ever: Essential Leadership Principles


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