One man can be a crucial ingredient on a team, but one man cannot make a team.
Few players have had the impact on the game of basketball as the great Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, both on and off the court. From getting the dunk banned from college hoops due to his dominance to being the all-time leading scorer in the NBA by a wide margin, Kareem was an amazing player. But throughout his illustrious career, he learned the value of teamwork. He learned that he needed facilitators and role-players to win championships. That is a truth that persists in the game no matter the evolution. It's something Michael Jordan and Phil Jackson learned in their amazing runs.
“Talent wins games, but teamwork and intelligence wins championships.”
― Michael Jordan
“The strength of the team is each individual member. The strength of each member is the team.”
― Phil Jackson
It's a lesson that not all stars learn easily, however. Kareem himself admitted he struggled with it in his time in Milwaukee. I think it is safe to say it's a lesson Kobe Bryant and Carmelo Anthony also still struggle with. But one player who seems to understand it almost too well is LeBron. Not since Magic Johnson have we seen a superstar who relishes the facilitator role quite like James. Ironically, the construction of the "super team" down in Miami necessarily sacrificed the quality of the role player and cost them their first shot at a championship, in addition to LeBron's own maturity. But this run in the playoffs has seen LeBron show the full gambit of talent: scorer, vocal leader, facilitator, defender and more. Even with all that, it may not be enough to take down another quality team with great coaching in the Spurs. And it may be the final year that team remains in it's present form, given salary cap and age realities that seem to be on the horizon. But no matter the results, it's comforting as a sports fan to know that no one player is bigger than the game, even when that player is huge. That is what I really enjoy about sports: that no matter your talent level you must pay your respects and be deferential to the game itself.
Today, try to humble yourself and ask for help with something. It's an important lesson to learn and practice daily. Don't allow your pride to deny you help. Be proud in the strength it takes to admit you need help.
“Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much”
― Helen Keller