Hudson is faster and stronger at twelve. With a father steeped in the game, basketball has served as a metaphor for many life lessons, not the least of which is the power of an Assist.

On offense, his post is the right corner, parallel with the base line. Our coaches pounded the percentages into our heads. We were told to move the ball as close to the basket as possible to set up the highest percentage shot. Many kids his age still lob Hail Mary shots from behind the three-point line. It’s tempting for Hudson. He’s good at sinking those and the cheers reinforce his confidence.

But this year, I’ve seen a change. The highest scoring team member continually drives to the basket, solely focused on crashing through the crowd, often oblivious to teammates and opponents in his path. He has the skills and the height to be the star. And Hudson’s team might not win as many games without his single-minded energy and effectiveness.

That isn’t Hudson. It has been fascinating to see him study the court, the placement of the players and opportunities for others to make shots. He gets lots of playing time because his coaches and teammates know that if someone’s open and Hudson has the ball, he’ll get it to them.

At first, I thought this might be because of his own uncertain self-assurance. But as the Spring season evolves, it’s clear that he’s always looking for the best way to score, setting up higher percentage shots that make his fellow players look good.

One of the things I admired while watching Earvin “Magic” Johnson play in high school and college was his ability to predict where the other guys would be and fire the ball to them at just the right instant to convert a drive into a score. As a businessman, he has grown his fortune through assists that empower others on his team to succeed.

My own modest leadership accomplishments were the product of assists I received from patient bosses and excellent execution when I passed the ball to co-workers who ran the routes every day and knew the lay of the court better than I.

One of the things that drew me to the ice in wintertime was how hockey celebrated assists on every goal. The best players developed the ability to see opportunity for others and capitalize on it by passing the puck.

I have a vivid memory of visiting my US Senator during a lobbying trip to Washington in the 90s. While I was in her office, she took a call from a member from the other party. “I can’t support your bill as it is now written, but if you can give me an assist with a constituent, I have an idea that may help you get it passed.”

She told me later that this was how things get done in Washington. To paraphrase Zig Ziglar, assist others in getting on the scoreboard and they will remember when it’s your turn to shoot.

After a game where Hudson seemed to be on fire with assists, I asked him why he didn’t take a few more shots. “I kinda like how I feel when I can help someone else look good, Grandpa.”

I hugged him tight, knowing that it won’t be long until he surpasses me in both height and wisdom. “That makes me feel pretty good. And pretty proud,” I said.

“Proud enough to buy me some hamburgers on the way home?” he asked, a wicked twinkle I knew well brightening his eyes.

He parroted Zig word for word. “You get what you want when you help others get what they want.”

I nodded toward the car, letting his dad know that grandpa was stopping for kid fuel on the way home.

“I taught you that one, wise guy,” I said. “Don’t think I didn’t see what you did.”

He slid his headphones on, buckled up and hit the continue button on a previously paused smart phone game, giving me one more grin. “It’s fun. And can I have a sip of your Coke? I won’t tell if you won’t.”

They limit his caffeine for good reason. And I knew he would tell. At least for now, he’s like his dad that way. Honest to a fault. I lifted a headphone off of his ear. “You can. And we will tell. I’ll give you an assist on that one.”

If you’ve been a regular reader, you know my definition of the ultimate success metric. The most important indicator of a successful human existence is the extent to which we are able to positively impact the lives of others.

This week, think about the assists you’ve received along the way. And pass some of your own around.