When it seems as though society is lacking in many areas of decency and community, gratitude shouldn't be one of them. Using basketball as metaphor for life experience illustrates the abundance of positive energy that comes from demonstrating gratitude.
Take the ultimate basketball example: Scoring a basket. The casual fan or the young player sees the end result, the basket, and thinks nothing of it. It may not occur to them what went into scoring the basket. The great defensive play, the rebound in traffic, diving on the floor for a loose ball, the pass.
Perhaps the most beautiful play in basketball is a rebound, then an outlet pass on a rope, to a pass for a basket at the other end of the floor. The ball never touches the ground, instead touching multiple players in a matter of seconds for a score.
I recall watching Team USA in one of their first games this past summer. Dwight Howard snatched a tough rebound, turned and outlet the ball to Chris Paul at half court, who then threw a bounce pass to a streaking Dwayne Wade for a dunk. Immediately following his flush, Wade turned and acknowledged the rebound and outlet pass with a laser look and a wave to Howard.
Mr. Wade knew who made his basket possible, because Mr. Wade is grateful to all who help him succeed. It is part of his personality and humility that make him a player teammates will run through a wall for.
Demonstrating gratitude on the court is contagious. It shows appreciative teammates are playing and thinking together. It creates a
synergy that is noticed by the opposing team. "My gosh, these guys are all on the same page!"... Not only that, but they are on the same word in the same sentence on the same page. Teams who are grateful for each other, play better for each other.
Remind your players to show gratitude for effort, for sacrifice--get them in the habit of saying "Thank you for being my teammate". To build on this concept, give a point for acknowledging an assist in scrimmages, a point for hustling over to help up a teammate who's just dived on the floor for a loose ball or fallen down.
Just as in life, basketball is a game of giving. Giving deserves to be appreciated. One must be grateful for what they receive...