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8 Tips to Keeping Your Cool Under Pressure From NBA Finals Pros

Whether you compete in marathons or triathlons, race in 10Ks or 2-mile swims, these tips from LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Kevin Durant and other NBA stars will help you come up big when the stakes are highest.

Kevin Durant

Never Give Up – Kevin Durant, F, Oklahoma City Thunder

The Oklahoma City Thunder are facing a playoff elimination game tonight. If they lose, their season is over. The pressure on the Thunder players is palpable, yet sometimes the biggest victories happen just after the moment where defeat looks most likely (See: 2004 Boston Red Sox). In order to turn your fortunes around, you need to put aside the thoughts of defeat and focus on maintaining 100% effort. Kevin Durant’s team is in a big hole, but they still believe in their chances of winning a title this year:

“We didn’t get here [the Finals] just to say that we made it here. We want a title. It’s all about competing until that last buzzer sounds and that’s what we’re going to do. That’s the type of city we play for and that’s the type of team we are. We’re going to keep fighting and fighting and we’ll see what happens.”

If You’re Down, Fight Back One Step at a Time – Kevin Durant, F, Oklahoma City Thunder

Regardless of your goal, you may find yourself so far behind that achieving it seems impossible. Most likely, you won’t be able to make up ground all at once. If you’re down two sets to your buddy in tennis, you can’t win two sets on one serve. You can only win by making one solid shot at a time. This is the same mentality that Kevin Durant has as his team faces the daunting task of winning in Miami tonight:  

“Everyone knows our backs are against the wall. We’re down three to one. We have a chance to try to take the series back to Oklahoma City. We can’t win three games in a row here in Miami. We can’t win the series in just one game. We have to take it a possession at time, a game at a time and go from there. It’s do-or-die and we have to come out and perform.”

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