Thursday, March 28, 2013

the last book I ever read (Bill Bradley's Life on the Run, excerpt four)

from Life on the Run by Bill Bradley:

I believe that basketball, when a certain level of unselfish team play is realized, can serve as a kind of metaphor for ultimate cooperation. It is a sport where success, as symbolized by the championship, requires that the dictates of community prevail over selfish personal impulses. An exceptional player is simply one point on a five-pointed star. Statistics—such as points, rebounds, or assists per game—can never explain the remarkable range of human interaction that takes place on a successful pro team. Personal conflicts between team members will never surface if there is a strong enough agreement on the community’s values and goals. Members of the Budapest String Quartet disliked each other personally, but collectively still made exquisite music. They did so in part because they had a rigid score that limited the range of personal interpretation. The cooperation in basketball is remarkable because the flow of action always includes a role for creative spontaneity; the potential for variation is unlimited. Players improvise constantly. The unity they form is not achieved at the expense of individual imagination. That creative freedom highlights the game’s beauty and its complexity, making the moment when the ideal is realized inspiring for the players, thrilling for the fans.

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