After 19 years in the NBA, Carmelo has retired from professional basketball. He did on the doorstep of the NBA Finals. And on the day that the team that drafted him finally made it to the League Championship Series.

Back to being CLUTCH. I’m talking about performing in key moments when the game is on the line. Most people would describe it as “elevating” your game when the pressure begins to mount.

But here’s the reality. For every player in the NBA, their performance doesn’t elevate. In fact, shooting percentages drop drastically when the game is on the line.

Except for Carmelo. The 10 time All Star bucks the trend. His shooting percentages during the game and at the end in critical moments are almost identical. When everyone is falling off, Melo has demonstrated the ability to stay in control.

In the book “Diamond Goldfish,” Travis Carson, JD/MBATony Cooper, and I write about the importance of staying under control and performing under pressure.

We acknowledge that humans are advanced beings living in a modern world, but it turns out we are still operating on fairly primitive biology. And under pressure, that biology predictably runs our hardwired survival strategy every time it detects a threat.

Overcoming that pressure isn’t easy. It requires us to think and respond differently. In the words of MMA Champion Conor McGregor, “I don’t feel pressure in a negative way. I like pressure. I feel excitement and calm at the same time. No pressure, no diamonds.”

So, here is a salute to Carmelo. He is an NCAA Champion, a 3 time Gold Medalist, and a 30,000 point scorer in the NBA. And the closest thing to being CLUTCH in the last quarter century. Melo rose to the challenge of the first line of Rudyard Kipling’s immortal poem “IF”

“If you can keep your head when all about you are losing theirs…”

Want to learn more about excelling under pressure, here is a 10-minute video talking about the concept of the Diamond Goldfish: