If you follow the National Basketball Association (NBA), as several of us here at TestOut Continuing Education do, then you've probably been a little bit dizzied already by the flurry of trade activity among teams in the league. The league-imposed deadline to complete trades for the current season is tomorrow afternoon, so we've officially entered the window during which a flurry can blow up into a blizzard literally overnight. Of course, just like in the real world, a few flakes is no guarantee of a major dump.
It's an exciting time for fans, because trades are one of the key ways that teams have of improving both their short-term and long-term prospects. One of the most famous midseason trades in NBA history occurred on Feb. 1, 2008, when the Memphis Grizzlies traded Pau Gasol to the Los Angeles Lakers for a heap of assets including the draft rights to Pau's younger brother, Marc. The energized Lakers immediately went to three straight NBA Finals, winning back-to-back championships in 2009 and 2010.
Few trades end up having that level of impact, of course, but it's that sort of outcome that gets both teams and fans excited. While not every team has the right combination of players and future draft picks to dream NBA Finals dreams, you never know whether an unanticipated trade miracle is in the works until after the deadline has passed. For those final few hours before the league office shuts things down, everyone who has a favorite team watches for breaking news alerts with fingers crossed.
The professional sports world is unique in many respects, of course, but the trading of players, who are essentially team employees, is something that happens almost nowhere else in any realm of professional endeavor. In IT, for example, if you like your job and you're good at it, then an unforeseen layoff or firing is probably the only way that you'll suddenly find yourself forced to move somewhere else and start over in an entirely new work environment. In fact, just like in sports, the better you are at your job, the greater the rewards.
Certification is one way to get better at what you do. If you have a basic familiarity with computers, but you've never done more than be the family tech guru, then a certification can help focus and amplify your skills. You could get a full-time job and start moving up the career ladder. Certification doesn't guarantee professional success, but smart tech guys can go far. Former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer owns the NBA's Los Angeles Clippers. Steve Ballmer doesn't just watch for trades to happen — he has the final say.
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