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Talent Is One Thing, Teamwork Is Everything

Jackie and I went to Game 6 of the Indianapolis Pacers and Milwaukee Bucks NBA playoffs series. We wanted to be there because if Indy won, they would move on to the next round, the first time they'd done so in ten years. And they did it! What a great atmosphere and exciting experience all around.

Now let's face it. Milwaukee is an outstanding team. And in the previous game at home, Milwaukee beat us by twenty-five. What seemed to be the difference Thursday night? It centered around teamwork and a team mentality. And it was confirmed by several players after the game, so I'm not just making this up, though I feel like I'm a pretty good pro basketball analyst!

First of all, the Pacers had team goals, one of which was to play at their pace, not Milwaukee's. From the opening tip, they pushed the ball up and down the court whether the other team made their last shot or not. If you weren't ready to run, you might as well take a seat. They didn't.

Second, the Pacers modeled team contribution. Indiana has some young and veteran superstars of their own. However, a couple of them didn't score their usual points or get their normal amount of assists or rebounds. But instead of hogging the ball and still taking all the shots, they involved other good players who that night were also great. No one cared who contributed the most. Instead they found those who simply could contribute the most that night.

Third, they had team pride so they refused to do something selfish or out of character to hurt the team in any way. One Milwaukee player got so mad on the sideline that he threw a basketball at a female fan and again at a man nearby. Anyone can get upset and irritated when things aren't going well. But team players won't jeopardize the group's success doing something stupid that will likely have ramifications into next year.

There's lots written about teamwork in sports, business, churches, education and the like. It can be a lot harder to live it and lay aside our personal goals, expectations and career or ambition goals. But sometimes talent and the most gifted people can get in the way of the success of the group when team for them is more the name they have on their jersey, not how they think, act and feel.

Game 1 of the next series is tonight. Go Pacers.


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