Great teams have always fascinated me and recently I read all about the LA Lakers of the 1980’s, who won 5 NBA titles in that decade. Magic Johnson was the LA Lakers team leader, and was an incredible basketball player. He also had the ability to bring out the best in all of his team mates. Would you like to do the same with the friends you are studying with? The audit teams you will join in articles one day? Don’t you want to do great things with every team you join as a professional? I bet you do!
What can you do to create a great team? Here is a inspiring story from the LA Lakers coach about what Magic Johnson did:
“One afternoon in the summer of 1980, I told Magic that in more than twenty years of playing and coaching basketball, I’d never seen such a complete package – great skills combined with great attitude. I asked him point-blank: “Why are you the way you are? Why do you give everything away?”
And Magic told me about something that had happened when he was a little boy, playing Youth League basketball in East Lansing, Michigan.
Early in the season, his coach had taken him aside and said “You’re the biggest. You’re our best player. You should shoot the ball all the time.”
He’d done as he was told. Because he was so gifted, he scored most of the points every game. His team won, time after time. But when he looked around at the moment of victory, hoping someone would return that big smile of his, his teammates looked miserable. They felt like nobodies. The coach’s game plan was producing wins, but it was bashing the team’s feelings of success and significance.
Magic didn’t want it to be that way. It drove a wedge between him and his friends. So he decided to change his style. Instead of scoring all the points, he would draw the defenders, then pass to whoever was open. Through this unselfishness he would enhance the skills of others. He would help them experience the same kind of kinetic, contagious joy from playing that he always felt. Then they’d be motivated to be their best. The team could experience both winning and success at the same time.”
Pat Riley, Coach of the LA Lakers in the 1980’s, in his book The Winner Within
Want to make a difference to your team?
Don’t make it about you, and your experience will go to the next level. Serve your team. Take lots of “groupies” (not selfies), keep encouraging each other, share what you are learning freely and you will bring out the best in each other!
Like Magic Johnston experienced as he celebrated many NBA titles, the phrase “serve my team” is a good one to remember!