Stop Hating for Five Seconds, See What We Can Learn From The Warriors – By Annie Apple

There is no such thing as a super team, unless a super team is a team that refuses to lose when it has to win. Lots of teams have talented players on their roster but aren’t winning. The term “Super team” is a low-key way of undermining what the Golden State Warriors are doing. The so-called experts gleefully fail to acknowledge that the Warriors are winning because their talented players play ego-free basketball. In an all eyes on me culture, the Warriors’ eyes are on the prize. They’re proving you get so much accomplished in life when you don’t care who gets the credit. The following are four other lessons we can all learn from this year’s Golden Warriors..

Make no time for ego

Warriors have two players in Kevin Durant and Steph Curry scoring 30 plus points each a game and either guy could be finals MVP. Yet they play selfless ball. Their team is loaded with talent, Draymond Green, Klay Thompson, Andre Iguodala. But their greatest talent isn’t ball skills; their greatest talent is their ability and commitment to playing team ball. They aren’t stuck on who’s the star. The star for the Golden State Warriors is winning. That is their daily goal in practice, meetings, film studies and the results show. So whether you’re on an IT team, nonprofit, corporate, education or service staff team, focus on how you can work together to create a great product, process, service and the results will be super.

Stay unbothered

My mom told me many years ago, “Annie, when you want to accomplish anything in life, don’t look at people’s faces for approval or acceptance.” Kevin Durant left Oklahoma Thunder and never looked back. He’s been vilified, his character attacked and manhood questioned for his business decision as a free agent to join the Warriors. Yet, he stays focused and continues to be outstanding.  This team has been undermined all season. When they win, they’re supposed to win. With the so-called experts saying they’re only winning because they have KD. But at one point OKC had KD, Westbrook and Harden, but for whatever reason, the team couldn’t get it done, and Harden left, then Durant.

You can never underestimate importance of chemistry, sacrifice and teamwork. When Durant went to Golden State, it could’ve failed. With all that talent, there was no guarantee they would all gel together and make the mental sacrifices and game changes needed to win. They’re winning by shutting out the noise and focusing on exceeding their own expectations. So stop listening to what people who are not invested in your growth and success have to say. Focus on what you and your team, family, coworkers are trying to accomplish. Let the goal be the focus and the process will work.

When you put team first, you personally will win

Putting the needs of the team first in a team environment is important to personal success. When the team wins, you win. The goal isn’t personal accolades. If you get a dozen triple doubles but your team falls short, it doesn’t matter. Focus on the process and productivity of team work and you’ll all reap the benefits, individually and collectively.

Stay humble

Don’t get distracted. Don’t start believing your own hype. Don’t get sucked into the praise or criticism. Stay humble. Success can be as much a distraction as failure. Stay locked in and on task. Remember, when the goal is greatness, you will never arrived. Greatness is a process and a journey which requires patience, focus and humility.

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LeBron, Harpo and Dan Gilbert’s Huckleberry!

In the midst of LeBron-A-Thon ending with the TV non event of the year, let’s just start with Cleveland Cavalier’s majority owner Dan Gilbert’s letter to Cav’s fans:

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Dear Cleveland, All Of Northeast Ohio and Cleveland Cavaliers Supporters Wherever You May Be Tonight;

As you now know, our former hero, who grew up in the very region that he deserted this evening, is no longer a Cleveland Cavalier.

This was announced with a several day, narcissistic, self-promotional build-up culminating with a national TV special of his “decision” unlike anything ever “witnessed” in the history of sports and probably the history of entertainment.

Clearly, this is bitterly disappointing to all of us.

The good news is that the ownership team and the rest of the hard-working, loyal, and driven staff over here at your hometown Cavaliers have not betrayed you nor NEVER will betray you.

There is so much more to tell you about the events of the recent past and our more than exciting future. Over the next several days and weeks, we will be communicating much of that to you.

You simply don’t deserve this kind of cowardly betrayal.

You have given so much and deserve so much more.

In the meantime, I want to make one statement to you tonight:

“I PERSONALLY GUARANTEE THAT THE CLEVELAND CAVALIERS WILL WIN AN NBA CHAMPIONSHIP BEFORE THE SELF-TITLED FORMER ‘KING’ WINS ONE”

You can take it to the bank.

If you thought we were motivated before tonight to bring the hardware to Cleveland, I can tell you that this shameful display of selfishness and betrayal by one of our very own has shifted our “motivation” to previously unknown and previously never experienced levels.

Some people think they should go to heaven but NOT have to die to get there.

Sorry, but that’s simply not how it works.

This shocking act of disloyalty from our home grown “chosen one” sends the exact opposite lesson of what we would want our children to learn. And “who” we would want them to grow-up to become.

But the good news is that this heartless and callous action can only serve as the antidote to the so-called “curse” on Cleveland, Ohio.

The self-declared former “King” will be taking the “curse” with him down south. And until he does “right” by Cleveland and Ohio, James (and the town where he plays) will unfortunately own this dreaded spell and bad karma.

Just watch.

Sleep well, Cleveland.

Tomorrow is a new and much brighter day….

I PROMISE you that our energy, focus, capital, knowledge and experience will be directed at one thing and one thing only:

DELIVERING YOU the championship you have long deserved and is long overdue….

 

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Ouch!  I suppose that felt good to old ‘Danny Boy’.   But by responding in this fashion, he’s made himself look even worse than “King Prince James.”

Make no mistake about it.  This LeBron-A-Thon which started around the same time as the NBA Finals with LeBron going on Larry King, Nightline, and any other show short of Oprah, (I’m sure they called her) was a farse to begin with.  The Celtics were playing the Lakers for godsakes.  Kobe Bryant, Ron Artest, Pau Gasol and Derek Fisher were going against Paul Pierce, Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett.  Doc Rivers was trying to win his second NBA title in three years as Celtics coach.  Phil Jackson was in the midst of winning his 11th as coach.  At that point, personally I didn’t give a damn about what LeBron was going to do.  His team was eliminated in the second round of the playoffs.  Still he couldn’t resist but to move the attention on to himself.

The primetime ESPN special was also a joke.  How vain can one get;  Especially since the “Chosen One” that hasn’t won in the NBA?  Sure I watched it!  It was the ultimate train wreck.  I rubbernecked from start to finish and watched James sit uncomfortably as Jim Grey threw James softball after softball questions that he could not seem to hit out of the infield.  To hear James tell it, Cleveland wouldn’t be Cleveland if it were not for him.  In reality, he didn’t do more than Mark Price, Brad Daugherty, Ron Harper and Larry Nance for the Cavaliers franchise.  And two consecutive MVPs or not, the difference between he and Kobe Bryant isn’t even close.  Bryant is clearly more concerned about his historical basketball legacy in which greatness is clearly defined by championships.  James is more concerned with branding, merchandise and ego.  For all of his talents, he thinks more highly of himself than he should.   He was created to be that way since he was on the cover of Sports Illustrated while driving that Hummer around in High School.  And yea, the story is marketable in a summer where there is nothing but baseball and a boring soccer matches hardly anyone cares about.

That being said: Dan Gilbert’s self-righteous victimized rant came off as if LeBron slept with him for a night but didn’t stick around to cuddle the next morning.  This is the same man who would have given his chosen one $130 million for 6 years had James decided to stick around in C-Town.

Gilbert wants to rant on LeBron about loyalty?  Hell last I heard James was a free agent as of July 1.  This was indeed his time to choose whatever team he wanted to chose.  The real issue is that with James’ departure, the value of the Cavaliers franchise dropped faster than a bad stock.  Last night may as well be called Black Thursday as far as Gilbert is concerned.  Still I’d like to ask him about loyalty when it came to coach Mike Brown who won the most NBA games this past season.  I’d like to ask him about his courting of college coach Tom Izzo as if he were going to take the Cavaliers anywhere let alone have the respect of James as well as other NBA players.  LeBron never went to college so why would he respect a college coach?  I’d like to ask him why he ran out one of the best GMs in the league in Danny Ferry. 

Is Gilbert the pot or the kettle that’s all I’m asking here.  Now he’s barking off about how LeBron quit in the playoffs throwing the guy under the bus.  And any of this talk about leaking more of LeBron’s tresepasses I’m sure has been shut down by a phone call from David Stern.

My favorite quote of his entire letter is this one:

“The self-declared former “King” will be taking the “curse” with him down south. And until he does “right” by Cleveland and Ohio, James (and the town where he plays) will unfortunately own this dreaded spell and bad karma.”

Are you serious?  Were you just watching The Color Purple Thursday afternoon because it sounded very much like what Celie told Albert:

 “Till you do right by me, everything you even think about gonna’ fail.”

The Color Purple - 11 x 17 Movie Poster - Style A

Gilbert’s eagerness to court James and willingness to give him a max deal, then slamming him as James headed to South Beach is tantamount to a thug who pursues a woman at the club.  After being turned down several times finally fires back with something like this: “F’-U then!  I didn’t want your number anyway.”

As much as James is a self-glorified egomaniac, the fact of the matter is that he did indeed give the Cavaliers and the city of Cleveland seven exciting years.  He made the team and the city a lot of money.  It was an even trade-off.   Now that the affair is over, it’s over.  Gilbert should turn the page.  And if he can’t, he should touch himself and think of the memories.

LeBron Dominates! Cavs Win, Extend Series

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LeBron James took over the game.  He either scored or assisted on every fourth quarter point his team got in the fourth quarter.  He got yet another triple double in this crucial playoff game.  I won’t say it was the most dominating fourth quarter performance I’ve ever seen.  That’s no disrespect by any means to The King.  It was different than that. 

The fourth quarter of this game reminded me of a high school game where there was one dominate player on the court – clearly head and shoulders above all the rest in talent and athleticism.  In the crucial last 5 minutes of the game this guy got the ball every single time at the top of the key.  Held the ball, sized his man up and reacted to the defense by either scoring or laying down an easy assist via a three pointer from Daniel Gibson or Mo Williams.  If he didn’t score or pass to those guys he caught Varejaoor Joe Smith for an easy lay up.  There were no play calls, no strategy drawn up by the coach.  Simple meat and potatoes.  “Get this guy the ball and let him decide what to do with it… period!”

I know that there are a lot of people who feel that LeBron is better than Kobe at this stage in his career.  I tend to disagree though I feel The King is the most dominating player in the league right now.  LeBron turns the ball over too much for my taste to be considered better than Kobe.  This should change as he matures – and yes as great as he is he still has room for improvement.  If he stays healthy, there is no reason why LeBron won’t be top 5 of all time. 

The way he willed his team to victory last night was just phenomenal.

cmac on sports – pre holiday rants

I grew up a Pittsburgh Steelers fan and as such hated the Dallas Cowboys. (Especially during the 80’s)  But I came to appreciate the 90s version with the likes of Troy Aikman, Michael Irvin, Emmitt Smith, Jay Novacheck, Nate Newton etc.  A lot that love came for Irvin in particular because of my love for the U.  (University of Miami) That was my college team during the glory days.

Anyway – since then I always felt it was good for the league if the Cowboys were good.  And I haven’t liked or disliked them.  But I have to admit that since Terrell Owens, (T.O.)  is about to implode another team, I have come to root against Dallas. 

I was glad when Baltimore beat that ass the other night.  Now if the Eagles can do the same, I won’t have to suffer this child during the playoffs.

Some of this is Dallas’ fault too.  Not just owner Jerry Jones who totally empowers this ridiculous behavior, but guys like Tony Romo the quarterback who won’t tell it like it is – that T.O. is whinny lil BEEaach who throws teammates under the bus during tough times!  They continue to cover for this fool and it just feeds the monster. 

Jason Garrett the offensive coordinator allowed a clandestine meeting to be held with Owens, and fellow receivers Patrick Crayton and Roy Williams, where Owens accused Romo and his boy TE Jason Witten of plotting to keep him from getting catches.  This in spite of the fact that Owens leads the team in catches and touchdowns.

Former players Michael Irvin and Deion Sanders have never publicly called Owens out on his continuous team destroying tactics from calling Jeff Garcia gay when he played for the 49ers.  Nor for throwing Donovan McNabb totally under the bus, starting a fight with Hugh Douglas – prompting the Eagles to send him home and be relegated to drive way push-ups for cameras while agent Drew Rosenhaus postured for this pathetic cancer of a teammate.

Next came the sleeping pills incident. (he took too many of them obviously in a fit of depression) Instead of dealing with whats wrong with the cat, they all covered it up and glossed it over.  An example is in the aftermath of Pill Gate, his publicist said, Terrell has 25 million reasons to live.” 

Earlier this year I knew for sure that T.O. was a selfish jerk when I saw him yelling at an assistant coach after a Dallas victory over Green Bay.  It was a great win for the Cowboys, but Owens only had a few insignificant catches while other guys shined during a prime time nationally televised game.  That told me this would be business as usual for T.O.

GO EAGLES!  Please remove this dude from my sports page to begin the 09! 

Boston Bustin Out on L-7

Kevin Garnett Picture

I got to give it up to the boys from Beantown.  For any team to win a world title, only to come out and win 26 of their first 28 games including 18 straight!  Talk about NOT resting on your accomplishments.  This reminds me of the Bulls teams who won championships and managed to chase 70 wins the next couple years.  Kevin Garnett is a beast.. making plays and making teammates cry on the bench.  (Side note, I honestly think Garnett has this image of Hall of Famer Bill Russell looking at him evaluating his effort every night.  He wants to please Russell like a kid wants to please his father.  Garnett wants to live up to Russell’s standard.  I think this is fueling his intensity even more to never let up.)  Back to the rant…..

Paul “The Truth” Pierce ain’t lied yet, Ray is Ray – and Rajon Rondo looks like Tiny Archibald.  If he continues to play the way he is, pencil these cats in the Finals in June.  I got nothing but mad respect for the Celtics and the way they go about their business!

Can’t sleep on the Cavaliers though.  Damn does LeBron James ball now or what?  I haven’t been able to see ESPN’s First Take over the last few months but Skip Bayless may as well get up off of his nutsack cause dude is putting up MVP numbers.  I hear Bron Bron is up to 274 pounds of 100% man now – and by FAR he is the fastest most athletic cat in an NBA full of fast and athletic cats.  The Cavs are just waxing fools and Bron is putting on a rock concert not seen since dare I say…… MJ?  It will be interesting to see how well the team does after the new year and specifically how they fare after the All Star Break.  This is where we always separate the men from the boys in terms of who is seriously going to contend.  Will Lebron’s legs give out on him?  Remember he did spend the summer in Beijing winning gold.  Only time will tell – but I am a believer.

Derek Fisher, Anthony Johnson

Uhhhh which brings me to my boys the Los Angeles Lakers.  They won last night in Memphis thanks to Kobe.  My boy Blue drove his son down yesterday to see the Lake Show down 55 south, and will call me later for the details.  They have one more game on the 4 games in 5 days road trip tonight against CP3 and the Hornets before that Christmas Day match-up against the above mentioned Beast of the East.  They lost last Friday against the Heat and then followed that up with another uninspired performance against the Orlando Magic.  All and all we are probably playing like the worst 22-5 team in the history of the NBA.  I don’t have to talk about how bad the D is…  I will let Lamar Odom speak for himself. 

“It’s just like when we used to play against Phoenix two seasons ago.  “We always felt like, ‘Oh, we’re going to get back in the game. They are playing an offensive style of basketball.’  I think that’s how teams right now might be looking at us.  We’re not making it hard enough for teams, as far as around the basket, as far as our defense. At the beginning of the year, maybe the first seven or eight or 10 games, we had teams that quit.  It was like, ‘This is too hard. We know we can’t stop them.  And they’re making it hard for us on defense.’  Now, I feel like teams feel like we’re going to let them back in the game.”

Translation… Get the house in order fellas or you will be the Dallas Mavericks come playoff time.   

New Yankees pitcher CC Sabathia during his introductory press conference.

In the “Don’t hate the playa” category, I got to send love to CC Sabathia the pitcher who inked a 7 year 161 million deal to don the pinstripes.  I remember when we used to say that the CC stands for “Captain Cheeseburger” because of his weight.  Now it stands for Cha Ching!  The Yankees initially offered CC a 6 year deal worth 140 million, and it sat on the table for a month cause he really wanted to play on the West Coast – preferably for the Dodgers.  Team LA wasn’t even close, and Artie Moreno the Angels owner had his eyes on Mark Teixeira. (The Yankees signed Teixeira for 8 years 180 mil today – Maybe CC needs to have his deal re-worked!)  The Yankees then added another year with an even 23 million per.  (9 million signing bonus)  And please, spare me the economy talk.  Any one of us would take it if we could throw the rock like him and someone offered it to us.  I ain’t mad at you brother!

The Story of the Year!

This is the story that has me the most hyped for 2008.  No, its not Michael Phelps and his 8 gold medals.  That’s nothing compared to the feat the Gridiron Gang from Motown is about to pull off.  A PERFECT SEASON…. in reverse.  That’s right for the first time in NFL history a team is flirting with backwards perfection:  an 0-16 season.  Detroit is a tough town… the Pistons have rings, and Tigers have had their ups and downs but were in the World Series a few years ago.  The Red Wings dominate!  Now the Lions are about to make their mark.  Just one more tank job against the Packers this Sunday and its a done deal.

Memo to Lions Players:  Anybody can go 1-15.  That’s not what you’re after.  Finish the job.  I know you are not the worst team in football cause if you were playing the Rams you would smash them.  But still, this is no time for semantics and nitpicking.  Man down.  Roll over.  Make history! Quit for godsakes!  Remember what Kevin Garnett said after he finished his season….. “Anything is possibleeeeeeeeeeeee.