Being labelled an ANBL "dud" ignited the fuse for NZ Breakers centre Shawn Long.
And being placed in cotton wool, at the heart of zone defence, has unleashed the explosive potential of the American, who is threatening to take the second half of the season by storm.
Long, 25, almost singlehandedly brought down Adelaide and Perth in the space of three days, scoring 28 and 33 points respectively, as the sixth-placed Breakers racked up successive wins to revive their season.
He pulled down 18 rebounds against the 36ers and maintained the steady stream of blocks that prompted coach Kevin Braswell to call him the competition's best big man two weeks ago.
Braswell's summation contrasted with that of high-profile ANBL pundit Liam Santamaria, who was unimpressed by the Louisiana-born big man in a "studs and duds" column.
"We laughed about it last week, I got called a dud and I took that personally," Long said.
"Coach always tells me it's about energy. If I bring the energy, the guys will come with it.
"That's the only thing I'm trying to do right now, bring it every night, so we can win."
Long finds it hard to hide his emotions on court, mirroring the style of childhood idol and NBA star Kevin Garnett.
Over-aggression has got Long in trouble with ANBL referees this season, but Braswell found the answer last week by introducing a zone defence, making it difficult for opponents to isolate the big man.
The minutes have climbed and the Breakers have reaped the benefits.
"I've been really focusing on not fouling, and it's making the game a lot funner for me and I can help the team more," Long said. "I'm happy about it."
Perth coach Trevor Gleeson admitted containing the former Philadelphia 76ers centre was a problem he couldn't solve in Sunday's 97-84 loss in Auckland on Sunday.
He wondered if other teams would find a solution, starting with the Sydney Kings on Friday, when Long will face off against Andrew Bogut.
"If he plays like that for the rest of the year, he's going to cause some trouble," Beveridge said. "I thought he was outstanding.
"He put the team on his back and just rode it. He's in a bit of a purple patch."