What Does the NBA Have to Do with Caring for our Patients?

In Oklahoma, we are relatively new to the game, but as our Thunder continue to move closer to The Finals, we seem to be getting the handle of the NBA. Even casual basketball fans are more than familiar with our hometown heroes Westbrook, Ibaka and KD. Without an NBA team to call our own in the recent past, many of us aligned our allegiance with teams regardless of geography – New York Knicks, Chicago Bulls or LA Lakers. 

Ever wonder what it’s like to live in the world of NBA players and trainers?  One of our physicians has been blessed to get a glimpse into this world on regular occasion.

“Most people in the hospital know I break away every year for an NBA all-star game,” shared Oklahoma Heart Institute electrophysiologist Dr. David Sandler.  “My childhood friend, Idan Ravin, is the guy who let's me experience his world.”

In fact, Dr. Sandler’s name is mentioned on the same page as Carmelo Anthony, Blake Griffin and Chris Paul, to name a few, in the new book Hoops Whisperer.

Idan is a trainer to elite NBA players, helping them achieve more out of their game and profession. In Hoops Whisperer, he shares his personal journey from playing basketball at the neighbor’s house to the day his friends, including Dr. Sandler, pooled their money to buy him a goal of his own. The goal, which stood eleven feet high mounted over Idan’s garage, launched a passion for achieving the most out of the game of basketball, both personally and through some of the best players of the game.

"Idan is the first guy that I've worked with that brought something different to the workouts, who pushed me past my limits, who made me think of the game on a different level,” says Oklahoma City Thunder standout Kevin Durant in a review of the book. “He pushed me with his words, encouraged me and built my confidence as the days went on. Truly one of a kind and I'm grateful that I had the opportunity to learn from him." 

"Idan inspired me to see my full potential, to become more than others had ever expected of me, and challenge myself to do more than I had even expected of myself,” explains Stephen Curry, Golden State Warriors, in another review of Hoops Whisperer.  “He showed me the importance of resilience and determination; and to capitalize on all my opportunities I had coming out of school and even to this day. His challenge to never become 'regular' stuck with me and kept me fierce in my determination to be committed to who I am, what I stand for, and to leave my lasting fingerprints on the game I so dearly love." 

“The book tells the tale of his unimaginable life; transitioning from his career as an attorney to becoming a trainer to many of the NBA's greatest players, like Carmelo Anthony, Chris Paul, Kevin Durant, Stephen Curry, Dwight Howard, Blake Griffin, and LeBron James,” shares Dr. Sandler. “His journey is a testament to living a life with faith, courage and limitless dreams.”

Idan’s story, Dr. Sandler says, transcends the game of basketball. “I know I am somewhat biased, but I found the book inspirational and relevant for my practice, as well as for parents, teachers and business,” he adds.  “Idan and I frequently compare notes on the similarities between caring for patients and training elite athletes.  It comes down to being a good listener and providing an individualized ‘treatment’ goal.  Neither the practice of medicine nor athletic training is one-size-fits all.”

{Top photo: Credit Oklahoma City Thunder, Facebook; Left photo: Idan Ravin with Dr. David Sandler at Michael Jordan's 50th Birthday Party}