Sacred Hoops

I jacked the Column Title from one of Phil Jackson's books, where he talks about how he's been able to infuse Zen and Cherokee spirituality into basketball. I merely want to elaborate on the teamwork aspect of the "beautiful game" (that also, is jacked from the world's nickname for soccer).

A game of basketball played by five people who are well-versed in all the basics (both in individual offense and defense, but more importantly: team offense and team defense) is the most pure expression of friendship that I know.

Think about it: friendships are about having each others' backs (if one guy gets past your teammate, rotate over on defense to help) and trust (once you rotate, another teammate will rotate over to cover your spot). Also you know someone well enough to know when they are better off with some space (Jon is highly efficient with the ball in the post) and when to give them a helping hand (Bryan likes a screen to get open for a shot). It's about helping your friends when you see they're struggling ("Don't think about the miss, just shoot") and congratulate them when they do well (a slap to the butt is always appropriate).

There's no jealousy or envy. Teammates are more than happy to ride each other's hot streaks, because it contributes to the whole team. On a fast break, no one cares who ends up with the ball and scores, the team wins either way.

But there's a difference when you have a team with people that play like they have to prove something, like the fact that they are the best person on that court. There's tons of bad shots taken and bad possessions. Distrust breeds distrust and soon you have a group of people not wanting to pass because they know they won't get it back. I think it's an ideal metaphor for a group of people working together who don't work as a team. You end up with a train wreck because of a few people who want things their way all the time.

Morale of the story: the whole is greater than the sum of the parts... so go find friends who play basketball as a team, and go win (while having tons of fun) .... then apply it to real life. Win-Win situation! Now you know why we're called Ballers in Arms.


J.Frosty said...

amen! speaking of which, team Mac Frosty, now that's called teamwork!

great read Bryan, I'm glad you understand the game like I do, but that's expected from a great teammate.

Anh Di said...

Would I be a selfish basketball player if I valued winning over teamwork?

^What if isolation is the only solution to the W since defense stops the ball movement?

What if competition is my only drive to improve as a better basketball player?

Am I a bad basketball player because isolation is my go-to weapon

with all due respect to your post of course

J.Frosty said...

the team with more teamwork will win pretty much all the time.

defense stops ball movement only when teamwork is lacking.

There's nothing wrong with competition, but it has to be team against team and not competition within the team.

no, that's just the way you play.

Mac OBryan said...

Man when I play with Jon there's very little holes in the defense. I just imagine if both of us had point guard skills, our offense would be ridic!

But anyway Andy, competition is good. It's the driving force that makes everyone better. Would you really learn anything if school didn't make you take tests or would playing Gran Turismo be fun if there was no clock to show your racing times. Definitely nNOT.

Winning is the whole entire point of basketball, I agree. But when some people are lost in the moment, they hurt the team more than help it. Example: Kobe in Game 7 of the Finals. He should know when he's screwing the team. In the end, Kobe thinks his actions will bring the win, but it's really not.

sidenote: as a rule of thumb, I don't get annoyed at someone taking quick shots unless they do it three times in a row and miss all three.