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Nate’s Notes 72: Chasing the Commandments: Josh Swade’s Quest for Basketball’s Holy Grail

By May 22, 2023No Comments

Josh Swade

Documentary Filmmaker

Josh Swade’s Lessons:

When David Booth won the auction for the Original Rules of Basketball it set the world record for the highest price ever paid for sports memorabilia. And it never would have happened without Josh Swade. At the end of Josh’s ESPN 30 for 30 documentary, the legendary Kansas coach Bill Self says the following: “Nobody gets anything done, unless they’re a little nutty, unless they have great energy, and great enthusiasm.” What a perfect description of Josh Swade and the lessons he shared.

First, if you really, truly feel so strongly about something in your bones, and you’re willing to just put one foot after the next, you never know what might happen. Josh was ridiculous but he didn’t care, and because of it, he was able to win the Rules of Basketball at auction.

Second, sometimes you need other people to help you get your message across. It’s good to have passion, and it’s good to have a clean, direct message and goal. But Josh really started making progress when he got the support of KU legends Larry Brown and Roy Williams. Then Josh got the support of Phog Allen’s grandson, David Allen, who in turn was able to get the support of Bill Self and David Booth. With the help of all those people, Josh was able to win the rules. 

Finally, it’s okay to be vulnerable and fly around the country chasing a dream. It’s okay to have fear that you’ll show up to the auction and lose. But the most important thing is to show up. It’s a simple idea, but sadly it stops people from going after their own rules. 

In the words of Josh Swade, “If you don’t give it everything you have you never know the sheer thrill that is victory or the disappointment that is defeat.”  Go after your own rules. You don’t have to be anything other than yourself, just give it a shot. 

It’s a simple idea, please take it seriously.

Josh Swade Bio:

Josh Swade is documentary filmmaker who has directed films for ESPN, Showtime, Rolling Stone Films, and Disney XD among others. He’s also a self-described fanatically crazed, insane, nut-job for the Kansas Jayhawks, with KU basketball representing 90% of his existence on this planet, and is wife, child and dog sharing the other 10%. He admits that it appears to others that he has a huge problem. But to Josh, this is not a problem. To him, there is no other way to live. 

So in 2010, when the original rules of basketball went up for auction, Josh, and his Kansas-basketball-tattooed shoulder wanted to be like Moses, and bring the rules of basketball, the 10 commandments of basketball, back to his people in Lawrence, KS, where James Naismith the inventor of basketball lived for 41 years, where James Naismith coached his first, and only, collegiate basketball team, where the basketball arena sits on Naismith Drive, and where James Naismith’s name is on the basketball court.

I hope you enjoy learning from Josh Swade today, because I certainly.

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