Taking a hard charge, making the extra pass or accepting a bench role — unselfish play builds team chemistry and wins games. The Golden State Warriors, led by coach and now six-time NBA champion Steve Kerr, put an exclamation point on this approach.
Among the many outstanding articles in the San Francisco Chronicle’s “Golden Season” commemorative edition (6-21-15) was one headlined “Humility takes Kerr a long way.” In noting the rookie coach’s lack of ego and refusal to take credit for shaping the team, Ron Kroichick wrote, “Do not underestimate the power of humility in connecting to a group of professional athletes.”
Most athletes do realize the importance of modesty, if only to extol the fake type: “It was a team win” and “I’m not about individual records, I just want to win.” Moreover, for every fake, let alone the rare genuine show of humility, there are the ubiquitous touchdown dances, demands for contract renegotiation and threats to holdout, and “Money” Mayweather.
At the moment, however, it is the success of Kerr and his Warriors that deserve recognition. “Only a good leader could make such a resounding and immediate impact,” wrote Kroichick, who also quoted assistant coach Ron Adams, “Steve is just a very measured, humble, exuberant leader.”
For contrast, look no further than LeBron “King” James. “Nah, I feel confident because I’m the best player in the world,” declared James in response to questions about his concern after losing game five in the finals. But it is James’ disrespect for Cleveland coach David Blatt that most blatantly contrasts the Warriors team ethic. And which, unless resolved, will hurt the Cav’s game and James’ reputation.
S.F. Chronicle columnist Bruce Jenkins wrote (6-21-15), “LeBron James is many things: leader, spokesman, purveyor of historic talent. One thing he’s not: a soldier.” Jenkins referred to how James barely acknowledges his coach during timeouts, overrules play calls and openly barks at Blatt about decisions he doesn’t like.
Coach Kerr, MVP Steph Curry, GM Bob Myers and the rest of the Golden State organization naturally exude humility. King James, on the other hand, will most likely never show or even convincingly fake the quality. This is unfortunate because his humble servants deserve a better role model.
The Warriors won one for the team and for humility. It’s a good start that will hopefully lead to a modest dynasty.