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A new song by artist, Don Trip, has been gaining popularity on Youtube and SiriusXM satellite radio [CLICK HERE to watch/listen].  I can’t speak for broadcast radio being as I don’t really listen to it often.  The song, “Allen Iverson” includes sound bites from a interview with Mr. Iverson in regards to his tribulations with the NBA, and general growth as a man just like any of us.  I can relate to much of the song and the intent and message both the artist, and Iverson convey.  However, I do feel that perhaps, Iverson doesn’t really understand why “practice” is important, and contrary to his statement, he view does “shut it to the side”.

First, let me make a ‘seat-of-the-pants claim’ and say that there is a big issue I see with the NBA today, version the NBA in the days of the Dream Team:  There are too many skilled individuals, and not enough team-members.  I admit that the individual skills of players have created high tempos and high demands on the requirements to make it into the NBA.  However, in sort of a capitalistic way, and exemplified by the constant desire for more “compensation” the boycott displayed, too many players are more worried about how they can market themselves, than how they can build a team.  It seems in a rush to be a “star player”, individual players lose sight of their team in search of “me”.  This is what Stephen R. Covey would describe as the opposite of synergy.

There will never be another Dream Team, another Michael Jordan, another Magic era Lakers, not another TEAM until players realize that their individual skills will never add up to the value created when individuals drop their personal marketing campaign, pick up their TEAM campaign, and create more from synergistic interaction amongst players.  Why were the Giants able to beat the higher-ranked Patriots (Not once but TWICE in the Super Bowl?)  It wasn’t individual talent.  And inversely… why did the New York Knicks win 10 straight w/ Jeremy Lin starting, in C. Anthony’s absence and then lose the first two games upon their star players return? I’ll give a hint, look at the other players’ stats when Lim was on the court, vs. the other players’ stats when Anthony was on the court…  A team will play better as a WHOLE than any collection of individuals.

So, on to my point about Iverson’s argument about “practice”…  The “star” player MUST be at practice!  ALL players must be at practice. Not just for himself, but for the TEAM!  In the military, a squad is not going to prepare for a war, or deployment, or an operation, and then have their squad leader show up only for the day of execution b/c their squad leader is already so great he doesn’t need practice.  The team needs all parts, to come together, to train together, to be a TEAM together. Forgive me for not being able to quote correctly, but I saw the following mounted in the gym, on a poster:

“Everyone has the will to survive in battle; it is the will to prepare for that battle that few possess.”

Being a leader and being a part of something greater than yourself is not about being the best at what you do; it’s about making those around you the best at what they do.  They too can reproduce the same, and together any team or organization will produce results FAR beyond those imaginable by any, single, person.

I look forward to feedback and welcome constructive dialogue at all times.  Please feel free to share with your friends and subscribe to be informed of the latest contributions to LifebyDamien.com!

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