In today’s youth sports world I feel that the term, there is No I in Team has become a very rare understanding for a player to have. I also feel that for an athlete to be great he or she must not only understand that there is No I in Team but they must really believe it. This is where I think the challenge comes in for a player to really let go of all their personal agendas and do what is best for the team to have the best chance to win a championship.
I have read on the internet that the saying No I in Team is old and cliché. Players, coaches and fans seem to say that they know this term and they are tired of hearing it. Then why is it so rare to find this in today’s youth athlete’s? Why are athletes these days more worried about their playing time and personal statistics than ever before? The reason why is somewhere along the line today’s athletes are forgetting the basic core fundamentals and principles that make up a champion. The athletes and teams that are winning championships all understand the basic fundamentals and team principles, which include understanding that there is No I in Team.
I think one of the greatest coaches of all time in getting his team to understand this is Phil Jackson. In the late 1990’s when Phil Jackson was coaching the Chicago Bulls he was able to make the greatest scoring raw talent we have ever seen, Michael Jordan, understand that he was never going to win a championship on his own and he would have to make his teammates better to do so. Jordan bought into the saying there is No I in Team and this led to him and Jackson winning 6 NBA Championships. Individually, Michael Jordan actually accomplished more in his career because he became a team player and he also made Scottie Pippen so much better that he is now a Hall of Famer.
Phil Jackson then went to coach the Los Angeles Lakers where Kobe and Shaq could not win a championship because they were thinking about themselves and not the team. Jackson was able to instill a positive mental attitude in Kobe and Shaq, who didn’t even like each other off the court and together they bought into his team concept there is No I in Team. Once Kobe and Shaq put their differences aside and sacrificed their personal agendas for the team, they won 3 straight NBA Championships.
Those were two very clear examples about three of the best basketball players in the history of the NBA that had to understand that there is No I in Team and that it takes a total team effort to win a championship. Today you can decide to be a good teammate by accepting your role and sacrificing yourself for the benefit of the team. When you and all of your teammates are doing what is best for the team you will not only experience basketball the way it is supposed to be but your team will probably win a championship someday.