I’m a basketball fan and I’ve written about my favorite team Golden State Warriors before and their unselfish play but now that they’ve won the title one more time, I have additional thoughts. After being 5 times in the NBA finals in a row, they were hit by injuries, adversity and they fell to the rock-bottom of the league, only to come back up and win a title again. It was about their selflessness once again!:
The core of the team - Steph, Klay and Draymond - have their ego in check and are really selfless!
They lead the team and they set the tone of the game. What they also do, is develop the other players. They are not here to shine, they’re here to lead and pave the way for others to shine with them. They share the spotlight and they share the stage. And this is what sets them apart from other superstars in the league and in other sport disciplines.
In the close out game 6, when Warriors took a commanding 21-0 run, just look how they played and who scored:
- Gary Payton II: 2 points
- Draymond Green: 3 points
- Stephen Curry: 3 points
- Jordan Poole: 9 points
- Andrew Wiggins: 4 points
The top scorer is NOT one of the three superstars. In fact, the superstars scored only 6 and the rest of the team the other 15 points. The superstars supported the others and created plays for them. That’s what the team work is all about!
The whole 21-0 run was about passing the ball, trusting each other and creating opportunities to score. It was about being selfless.
How the superstars take care of their teammates can be best described by an anecdote that Draymond shared about Gary. Back in April of 2021 GPII was on two 10-day contracts with the Warriors. After the second contract ended, Gary thanked the team for the opportunity and was saying bye-byes. Draymond was not having it and he complained to the team management that they needed Gary on the roster. That’s how Gary became a key member of the championship team.
Personal accolades are secondary… it’s about the team effort!
I’ve already mentioned in my previous post about them how they put the team first. How their personal accolades are secondary. After they’ve won the title and their leader, Stephen Curry gets a question about finally getting the “Finals MVP award”, he’s visibly annoyed:
Forget that! We’re champs! Why are you starting with that question! We’ve got 4 championships! You know… God is great, the ability to play on this stage and play with amazing teammates against a great Boston Celtics team that gave us everything to try to get to the finish line. Uhm… this one hits different for sure. Just knowing what the last three years have meant. What it’s been like… From injuries… to changes in the roster… Wigs coming through… our young guys… carrying the belief that we can get back to this stage and win, even if it didn’t make sense to anybody when we said it…
Steph is the best player on this team and the undisputed team leader, yet he focuses on the team effort. Not his personal accolades.
People want to be on that team, regardless of their position in the lineup!
Over the last three years as Warriors were dealing with injuries. Klay didn’t play for more than 2 years (torn Achilles), Draymond had issues and Stephen broke his hand and was out for more than 3 months. The team tried different players to substitute them. Players like Kelly Oubre Jr., D’Angelo Russel or Eric Paschall.
Some didn’t fit the team, others didn’t want to be just substitutes. In the end Warriors managed to trade and find “diamonds in the rough” like Andrew Wiggins, Jordan Poole, Gary Payton II and others who were willing to play whatever minutes their head coach Steve Kerr would give them. Other players like Kevon Looney gradually kept improving to the point that they were able to shine with 22 rebounds in one game (close-out game 6 of western conference semi-finals against Memphis Grizzlies). Or came back after a short stint somewhere else, like Andre Iguadala to play for the veteran minimum salary and be a part of this organization again and share their wisdom and experience.
Gold-blooded - the clarity of purpose from the very beginning of the playoffs.
I’ve highlighted my clarity of naming Nozbe Teams the new Nozbe as the key component for us succeeding in business. I really believe clarity of purpose is key. Because as they say: if you don’t know where you’re going, all roads will lead you there. That’s why you need clarity.
After the 3 championships in 2015, 2017 and 2018, the Warriors hit rock-bottom. First they lost the finals in 2019 when both Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson went down with injuries and then the next season they not only didn’t qualify for playoffs, but ended the season with a league-worst record of 15–50. Rock-bottom indeed!
The following season 2020/21 they almost made it to playoffs but lost the two last games in the play-in tournament.
That’s why I was really impressed with their bold statement this season that they were *gold blodded, which implied that they believed they could not only play well in the playoffs, but also win the championship. This clarity of purpose kept them locked in, and eventually they won it all against all odds!
That’s why I truly believe that Golden State Warriors are an amazing team thanks to their selflessness.
Keep egos in check. Cultivate greatness. Get the most and the best out of your teammates. Be locked in. Be ready. Contribute and help each other.
Share the ball. Be selfless.
Trust in one other.
Play for each other.
P.S. What a year for Stephen Curry that was!
Now that I think about it, Warriors confidence could also be based on their leader - Stephen Curry, who’s had an amazing season:
- Most 3-point shots ever made - not only did he pass Ray Allen on that list with 2973 shots made, he also crossed the 3,000 shot mark and is at 3,117 currently. With each 3-pointer his record just keeps increasing!
- NBA All-Stars Game MVP - he scored 50 of his team’s 163 points and got the Most Valuable Player award. True star of the stars!
- NBA Champion and Finals MVP - his personal accolades propelled him to win the finals and get a championship and his first finals MVP title thanks to performances like 42 points in pivotal game 4.
What a year, Steph! Here’s to more years like this!