Phil Jackson was asked something along those lines today. It's an interesting question. For us weekend warriors, it's a blast. But for people who do it for a living, playing banged up with reputations and millions on the line?
I found Jackson's answer (as transcribed by the NBA) insightful:
I think joy is in the competition, and if you are a player that relishes competition, I think this is what you consider to be fun, even though it may not be ha ha fun, it’s engagement. It’s immersion. It’s focus. All those things that draw the best out of your attention and your capabilities energy wise.
And so I think that is fun.
I’m reticent a little bit to use this analysis, but you talk to guys that come back from the war and they miss being in the war, and they go back and reenlist because they miss that total immersion of life that they have at that particular time. That’s some of what an athlete gets, that adrenaline, that immersion of total use of their facilities and all their faculties that make it hard to leave the game.
He also said, by the way, that Kobe Bryant may spend some time guarding Rajon Rondo.