A Lesson From the NBA

i was listening to one of the local sports talking heads today and heard something amazingly profound.

the dude was talking to rick carlisle, the head coach of the the mavs, and after they had talked about dirk and lebron and the near-meltdown in portland and the spanking of the lakers and coughgate and jet and jkidd and tyson and juan and cuban…he got around to this question:

“so rick, do you think this championship finally validates you as a coach? do you feel like the NBA community…the media…all of your contemporaries…will now recognize you as one of the sport’s elite coaches?”

coach carlisle spoke with a genuine grace and humility seldom heard in this day of sport celebrity. he said, “honestly, i can’t ever let myself go down that road. I just don’t ever think that way at all. I simply see myself as a servant of all these guys. my job is to do whatever I can to help them achieve their dreams…to put them in the best place to fulfill everything they have worked so hard to accomplish. so don’t ever a make this about me. it’s totally about the players. i’m really just here to serve those guys.”

the simplicity of his words and the sincerity of his expression was incredibly genuine. he was truly believable. and he spoke truth for anyone who aspires to lead others…no matter how large or how minuscule the effort is. godly leadership is always from the bottom up. true greatness is found in servanthood. real leaders don’t make their way to the center of the stage…they work hard to put others there.

and find great satisfaction in their lack of notoriety.

may we all aspire to be those kinds of leaders.

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2 thoughts on “A Lesson From the NBA

  1. This was the best post of the year. Carlisle has had his share of critics over the years. I like him. I love the way he treats the media…cold as ice. Anyone remember a few months ago Carlisle himself called the Mavs soft? He knew the perfect prod and his audience. A true coach. I am tired of hearing about Jimmy Johnson as the great DFW coach. Move over Jimmy.

    So I am going to have to change my stance on the Mavs, some.

    Yesterday a few in the media were saying this Championship is the best championship ever for DFW. I have to agree. So much drama to the end result.

    I question one part of his statement:

    “…to put them in the best place to fulfill everything they have worked so hard to accomplish.”

    Can you be a great leader if 100% of your team doesn’t work hard?
    Are you still a great leader if your #1’s always carry the load?

    If I apply Carlisle’s statement to my life, then I have to be fully committed to whatever objective I am trying to accomplish.

    So if I limp along in music, outreach, service…or anything else I sign up for, anything less than 100% commitment, I am wasting mine and other people’s time. I would be hindering the rest of the team.

    Good news: you don’t have worry about hard work if you don’t sign up to do anything.

  2. I think as a great leader, he finds a way to motivate them to give 100% or he helps them determine the goal that they are actually looking for. I think Dirk and Jet’s desire gave the team the goal, and the whole team with Carlisle as their leader came at it 100 to 100% percent.

    I personally don’t like me when I don’t give 100%. I am a perfectionist, so I expect that out of myself and when I don’t I feel like I’ve let myself and others down. So leaving this job will serve myself and others very well because I’ve got nothing left to give this company.

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