Tuesday, April 2, 2013

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

from Life on the Run by Bill Bradley:

Friendship on a team is often misunderstood. People talk about teams as families, as groups that eat, sleep, work, and play together. But on many teams the friendship aspect is overblown and even hypocritical. I could never understand owners who treat players as sons in public and cheat them on salary in private, or owners who are surprised when players whom they have cheated later resent them for it, or coaches who talk about their “family” and then the next year trade players away, or teams than one year publicize a unique meshing of personalities and then the next year have players who won’t pass the ball to each other, or coaches that switch roommates to prevent cliques and produce angry, isolated players.

I have heard people say that dissension developed on a particular team because the players never saw each other off the court and didn’t care about each other as human beings. Outsides envision players as having intense personal relations with each other, sharing innermost thoughts, fears, and hopes, sort of an extension of summer camp into adulthood. That’s not the way with the Knicks.

Each player on the Knicks has his own territory. Frazier, Willis, and DeBusschere are the voices of the Knicks to the press. Lucas and Barnett are the promoters. In addition, DeBusschere and Frazier never put themselves in a position where they may appear to be competing with a teammate. For example, they often relax in shooting games and never play one-on-one with teammates; everyone understands. Each player brings his own personal strength to an area and it is different from every other player’s. All realize that the greater freedom to “do your own thing” comes only from the interest generated by winning, so no one seeks to take all the credit or seize all the opportunities; anger and dissatisfaction never last.

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