I am a rare breed of basketball fan that has always enjoyed the NBA more than college basketball. Although I concede that nothing is better than NCAA March Madness, when I am choosing regular season play, I would rather watch the NBA. Over the years, I have lost my enthusiasm for NBA action because of all the player antics and trades. The Game just isn’t what it used to be!
And no player’s antics and trade decision frosted my cookies more than “The Decision” that was the LeBron James move to the Miami Heat. I’ve admittedly softened to the decision itself and now believe it was in everyone’s best interest that he leave Cleveland, but I still can’t respect the handling of it. It resonated as both egomaniacal and disingenuous at the same time. It left an icky taste in my mouth that forced me to automatically cheer for whatever team was playing against the Heat.
So it was with great pride that I jumped onto the Dallas Mavericks bandwagon for this year’s NBA Finals. And it paid big dividends as the Mavs played brilliantly through 6 great games to defeat the Heat and win the 2011 NBA Championship title!
I woke up Monday excited to read all about the fantasticteam play of the Mavericks during the series. I was looking forward to great stories about the role players like Mario Chalmers and J.J. Barrea who stepped up during critical minutes in the 2nd half of Game 6 to ignite the Mavs to victory. I was looking forward to reading about Jason Kidd finally winning his first title after 17 years of superb play in the League. I was looking forward to Rick Carlisle finally being recognized for his amazing accomplishments as a coach after becoming 1 of only 11 players ever to win a
championship as both player and coach. I was looking forward to Dirk Nowitzki
finally getting the recognition he deserves as a legitimate, agile big-man after years of being painted a European cream-puff.
But that isn’t what I got.
Instead, I got more stupid sound-bites from King Shames and tweets from the bitter owner of the Cleveland Cavaliers and speculation on what should and/or will happen with the Heat’s front office, coach and players during the off season.
Not that there wasn’t talk of the Mavs accomplishment. There was. But not nearly the amount of chatter as there was about the losing team. The comments about the failure of the Heat to win it all after assembling that squad this year, questions about the greatness of LeBron James after his performance and another year without a championship, and even the impact of the Heat’s team changes and performance on Dwayne Wades legacy far outnumbered anything being reported on the Mavs.
So this post is a “hurt” on all those who reported, commented, tweeted, etc on the failure of the Heat to do the things necessary to win before or more than discussing all the great things the Mavericks did to win it all.
Yet it occurs to me that this is what many of us do in our workplaces each and every day. The superstars and/or the bad apples take up the majority of our time, effort and attention, while the employees who come to work on time, do what is asked of them and perform well consistently get lost in the shuffle. We are so concerned about the superstar whose performance falls off or doesn’t measure up to expectations that we forget to notice and celebrate the employee whose performance remains positive and consistent or improves at a more moderate pace.
When this goes unchecked, it creates discord and resentment in the workplace. The strong role players become disengaged and don’t put in the same effort because they do not feel their hard work will be rewarded. If we aren’t careful, we put the superstar at risk of terrible backlash from the rest of the work team, who isn’t getting the same level of attention, even when they steadily begin to outperform the best and brightest.
So to honor the Dallas Mavericks NBA Championship win, let’s stop doing that! Instead of focusing on underperforming superstars and giving oil to the squeaky wheel employees, let’s treasure and celebrate our consistent, humble performers. Give them accolades when they’ve earned it and worry about the superstars and bad boys later. Like LeBron said, the superstar isn’t going to change so you’ll have months and years of his antics before you return to your regular, boring life. But I’m thinking the Mavs just proved regular and boring might not be so bad …