Jim Nantz Defines the Make Up of a Champion

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Jim Nantz Defines the Make Up of a Champion

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Jim Nantz Defines the Make-up of a Champion

Episode summary introduction: Jim Nantz is an award-winning Sports Broadcaster and the Voice of CBS Sports. He has called major events in many sports including The Masters, The PGA Championship, The NCAA Final Four (Basketball), The Superbowl (NFL). Jim joins Mark Immelman to talk about the makeup of a successful athlete. Nantz describes his experiences with winners like Tom Brady, Bill Belichick, Tony Romo, Tiger Woods, Jack Nicklaus, Nick Faldo and many others. He highlights elements like Work Ethic, Mindset, Attitude and Self-Talk.

Introduction with Mark Immelman

Howdy! Coming to you from Texas this week!

 It’s GOLF TIME! Nearly GO TIME, Thursday later this week we kick off the 2020 Charles Schuab Challenge at Colonial. I’m so Jacked! Golf is returning, not completely past COVID-19 pandemic. Please keep doing everything in your power to stem the spread of this virus. Do the world right. We are living in some crazy times right now. 

Wisdom, Understanding. Understand another person’s plight. Take time to listen. Wise people listen more than they talk. So listen to folks, listen to what people have to say. Make a point to try to understand their position. If we do that, then there will be forward growth. Remember, growth happens when collaboration happens. 

That is how this podcast has happened. I have collaborated with you, with great mind, we have come on here and people are growing because of it. We can do this folks! 

I’m from South Africa, I understand race relations as far as I possibly can. I know that one thing is always true: Take time to understand, and take time to love. Love beyond yourself. 

Speaking of love. I have tremendous love for all of my colleagues with which I have the honor of working with on the PGA tour. So many great minds and so many great thinkers. Just so many great people, and Jim Nantz is by far, in a way, the gold standard in all of those factors, all of those elements. He is a great guy, and has been around sports for a long time. A deep thinker. He’s got a wonderful insight and a wonderful way of telling adults stories. 

When I came to him with the idea of describing the champion, the make-up of a champion, he was all in. The conversation was so much fun. I loved the way this branched beyond golf, to other sports, to business. Because really, as I’ve always said to you folks, golf is a human deal, sports is a human deal. You have to be holistic in your approach. So whether it’s golf, business, fatherhood, parenthood, husband/wifehood (whatever you call that ?!?) it’s a holistic deal. 

I’m thankful to Jim for joining us on this podcast; and I’m convinced that you and all the people you share this with, will gain something that will help you holistically to adopt the champion’s mindset

Welcome/Introduction of Jim Nantz: [Timestamp: 4:40]

  • Mark: There is so much to be learned from watching the greats. We can’t necessarily swing it like a Tiger or a Brooks, but we can do things like they do. I thought of no one more uniquely qualified than Jim Nantz to describe folks like this. Jim has been in the industry since the mid-80s
  • Jim: It’s been a whirlwind. It’s been so much fun. It’s flying by. It’s the greatest joy to be able to have a childhood dream. To want to one day tell stories at big sporting events. No desire about being on television, it was about being at the events and about being a voice to try and document a story. And to be able to live it out, pretty much my entire adult life, it’s been a dream. I started CBS when I was 26. So this is kind of the 35th time around for a lot of these events, whether it be a football season, a basketball season (which was cut short by the pandemic), a golf season which we are about to reenter on a live and in-person basis. I’ve seen so many different things depending on the category…but let’s talk golf here. 
  • Mark: 
    •  Q: As a collegiate golfer, were there ever any aspirations to play, or were you always “I’m going to tell stories for a living”? 
  • Jim: 
    A: [Time Stamp: 7:17] I was obsessed with the idea of being a sports commentator. I loved golf, but it wasn’t the same as playing golf. I was completely enthralled with the idea of trying to be the next Jim McKay or Pat Summerall, Jack Wittaker, Dick Endburg, any of these great voices of my youth. 
    • Goes on to tell a bit about his college golf experience and how he studied communications. 

The Make-up of a Champion [Timestamps: 10:19]

    • Mark: You have called some events in sports that will go down in the ages. So, I’m going to pitch you an element, and I want you to describe it as you see it from your point of view, and then maybe put a name to it.
      The Champion, the make-up of the champion. This is not the hands and feet of it all, this is just the mind, the emotions, and such, the spirit. I want you to talk about the mindset of some of the folks you have been around, called, worked with, etc. Those really high achievers.
      1. What is their mindset like?
    • Jim: [Timetamp: 11:11
  • They never let go of the idea of winning. 
    • Jim’s primary focus has been Golf, College Basketball, and the NFL 
    • Tom Brady, Manning, Belichick, Coach K
    • Never satisfied with the most recent win. Want more. Addicted to winning. 
  • Mark: [Timestamp: 14:14] Does it appear to you that this is something they are born with? Learned? Or a combination of both? 
  • Jim: 
    • Combination of both. Special make up. With all the physical skills they have it starts with the mind, their will, determination, the drive to be a champion. 
  • Mark: 
    • The preparedness is an extension to sacrifice. 
  1. Talk about Attitudes of Champions [Timestamp: 15:45]
  • Jim: Interesting transition for athletes once they get to coming into the booth. Interesting trying to pick up a new skill set. 
    • 100% in on being about team. Respect. 
  • Mark: [Timestamp: 19:00]
    3.  What is your experience with these winners, these champions and the way they talk to themselves and about themselves? 
  • Jim: I think we all have those inner voices.  If you aspire to be good at something, you are constantly going through evaluations of what you can do to make yourself better. Things you can improve on. You need to be listening to what your heart is telling you. It’s an important voice to recognize. 
    • I’ve never been asked about it before. But do I have self talks, do I have check lists and ideas, thoughts and ways to make sure I am better today than I was yesterday, things I would like to be able to achieve? ABSOLUTELY! I don’t know anyone who accomplished things in life who doesn’t. 
  • Mark:[Timestamp 20:50]
    4. Have you ever caught someone who has been absolutely breaking themselves down openly: 
  • Jim: Yeah, I think I’ve seen that a lot. You kind of have to feel it and blend in to the moment. 
  • Mark: [Timestamp: 26:26]
    5. I want to talk about dealing with success and adversity. It seems that the champions look at both success and failure as equals really. They do it, deal with it, get by it. Am I crazy, or have you had the same experiences?
  • Jim: I think each one would tell you that the joy of winning is not as strong as the devastation of losing. One of those trigger points for them, that drives them, losing is a whole lot worse and grander than the joy of victory is for these guys. That’s why they keep coming back full onslaught to win and avoid that feeling again. 
  • Mark: [Timestamp: 32:25] 6. Let’s talk a little bit about timing. Cometh the moment, Cometh the man. Timing and the sense of the moment that champions have. 
  • Jim: I don’t think you can ever have one of those legendary careers unless you time and time again find a way to be able to handle the adversity, the pressure, the bigness of the moment when everything is on the line. To be able to pull off that shot, that stop of defense. The great ones just have a time tested ability. 
  • Mark: [Timestamp: 37:13] The learning to deal with the adrenaline, and the moment in these high charged pressure cooker moments, that is a skill in and of itself.
  • Jim: I think when you get into something that is really good and stressful, and everything is on the line there is a sense of calm in your head. There is also this wonderful adrenaline rush, that you are inside that cocoon. You live for that moment. The greats, they want that feeling again. Grand scheme of things, what percentage of your life of you living like that?
  • Jim: [Timestamp: 39:40]I saw one time in person. It was in 2006, the second summer that I had been asked to serve as an intermediary between President George H W Bush and President Clinton. These two great men had come together in early 2005 to spearhead  this world wide fundraising initiative, called the Bush-Clinton initiative, to help raise money for victims of the tsunami that had struck Southeast Asia in December of 2004. Together, these two men, these two former presidents, had raised a billion and a half dollars! George W Bush was the one who had hatched the idea, let’s get these two guys to team up and go out together and raise money and spread love around the world. During this time of globe trotting and fundraising a friendship was struck. As this friendship evolved, they decided they wanted to get together socially one summer, the summer of ‘05. And I got asked to be the ultimate fly on the wall, come hang out at Maine at the Bush compound and play golf, have dinners, play cards, and just keep the conversation going. They had the grandest of time and decided to do it again the next summer. This time they decided they wanted to have a 4th to play golf with. I suggested Tom Brady, and President Bush was so thrilled by the idea.  So Tom comes up and we play sixes. The first 6 holes I played with President Clinton, Brady played with President Bush. We played to a draw. We get to the last 6 holes, and I am going to team up with Brady and the Presidents are going to be playing together. Tom hops into my cart, and I look at him and say “Hey Tom, not that anyone is ever going to know about it, but someday you will be able to tell people that we did something that has never been done before in the United States of America, two guys off the street, got to play a 6 hole match against two former political rivals, two former presidents of the United States. I don’t know about you, but when I tell this story down the road, I’d like to say we won.”

That look you described of Tom Brady a few minutes ago, when we got the football, you could see it in his eyes. The Tom Brady that was giddy with excitement. Tom Brady the killer competitor had just been activated. For the next 6 holes he didn’t say a word, didn’t miss a shot.  We beat the presidents 5 up over 6 holes. 

I got to see Tom the competitor up close. 

  • Mark: [Timestamp: 45:00]
    7. Is there a golf shot that stands out to you? That is etched out in your mind for the rest of your days? 
  • Jim: Tells the story of seeing Jack ‘86 on the 16th hole 
  • Jim: The one word we didn’t touch on: Visualization. It is a powerful thing, believe in it. 
    • “Dream it, whatever it is you want to achieve. Dream it so hard that you make it real.” 

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