Confidence is a really bad movie starring Edward Burns. If I remember the plot correctly, Burns plays a con artist who’s trying to pull off the scam of his life. The film features a number of twists and rather predictable turns where Burns and his merry band of grifters try to scam a mob boss played by Dustin Hoffman out of his fortune. It’s an average-at-best crime thriller that features plenty of gratuitous scenes of the annoyingly handsome and one-liner specialist Mr. Burns. But Burns is perfect for the starring role of a film called Confidence because when his neck is on the line, his character exudes exactly that. In real life, Burns is married to blonde bombshell Heather Graham. In real life, confidence is what it takes to get a blonde bombshell to fall for you in the first place.
Confidence is also required to perform at the highest level, whether it’s bedding Heather Graham or winning major championships. This Saturday, we saw two athletes exude a level of confidence, complete with Burns-like soundbites and filthy, championship-level performance.
Draymond Green and his three-time champion Golden State Warriors are walking wounded. Up two-games-to-none, the Warriors had been toying with their current Western Conference Finals opponent, the Portland Trailblazers. Down by fifteen points at halftime, in the second half, the Warriors did what they do best. They climbed back to take the lead and ultimately win the game, ripping the hearts out of every Portland fan that knew exactly what was coming.
In Game Three, the Warriors lathered, rinsed and repeated. The Blazers led by thirteen at halftime, only to score thirteen in the third. As always, Steph Curry and Klay Thompson did their thing. Shooting and scoring as they do, these two get a lot of attention, as they should. But one unsung hero of this trio is Draymond Green. Not so quietly, Draymond has amassed his seventh triple-double of this post-season. Russell Westbrook, eat your heart out. These are not Russell Westbrook’s triple-doubles that Draymond is compiling for Draymond’s result in wins. Golden State is now an astounding 36-1 when Green fills the stat sheet. This kid who went to Michigan State, who hustles and smiles like another magician who went to Michigan State, is now also filling a stat sheet like him.
After defeating the Blazers yet again, their ninth post-season win in a row against this team, a reporter asked Green how the Warriors once again came back from such a deficit. Green responded simply by saying “Fifteen points? We know that’s a two minute-stretch for us.” ‘Nuff said.
When a team like the Warriors, led by their catalyst Draymond Green, gets down by that many points, they barely break a sweat because they know, and have proved over the years, that no deficit is insurmountable. You may not like Draymond Green but make no mistake that this undersized man playing center is the heartbeat of the Golden State Warriors. They can win this thing without DeMarcus Cousins. They can even win it without Kevin Durant, winner of the last two Finals MVPs. There is no way they come close to another title without the confident play of Draymond Green.
Across the country, in Long Island, New York, a professional golfer is making a mockery of the PGA Championship. Brooks Koepka is one round away of going wire-to-wire to win his fourth major, handily. By the time Sunday’s round is over, he will have won four of golf’s last nine majors and will become the first golfer ever to hold back-to-back US Open and PGA Championship titles.
Tiger Woods had just won the Masters. Koepka played his opening round with Tiger on Thursday… and beat him by nine strokes. He played with him again on Friday and beat him by another eight strokes. Koepka has a seven-stroke lead going into Sunday’s round leaving every other golfer on tour vying for second and place and perhaps more importantly, openly admitting that Koepka is playing better golf than them.
After Saturday’s round, a reporter asked Koepka if there was any doubt in his mind that he would win the PGA Tournament on Sunday. In a word, Koepka replied simply “No.”
Koepka is playing lights out golf just like Draymond Green is playing lights out basketball. It shows on the court and off, on the course and off.
To perform any sport or pretty much do anything at the highest level, an immeasurable amount of confidence is required. It’s showing in what Green and Koepka have to offer. They’ve got the hot hand so enjoy watching while it lasts, which could be a while.
If Green and Koepka could bottle what they have to sell, you couldn’t put a price tag on it. Fortunately, if you know where and how to find it, it doesn’t cost a thing.