Posted by: Earl-Stevens on March 19th, 2010The author's views are entirely his or her own and may not reflect the views of the Utah Jazz.
“Nothing personal, it’s just business”
I hate that phrase. It’s typically used by arrogant people who have an inflated view of themselves, and a very narrow appreciation for the colleagues, customers, instructors, and others who’ve helped them rise to their lofty positions.
Unfortunately, this philosophy is the norm in the professional sports world. Many team executives seem to use the “fantasy ball” approach when it comes to players and coaches: If they look good on paper, sign ‘em. When they fall off a bit, dump ‘em and find another. No loyalty, no consideration for past contributions, little thought to the effect of the transaction on team chemistry. Just pull the trigger and pray it’ll all work out.
Thanks for all the memories, LaDainian Tomlinson. Don’t let the door hit you in the butt on your way out.
In the end, everybody loses. The players, knowing they could be moved at any time, are conditioned to demonstrate personal success over the success of the team. They fail to develop relationships with teammates, and are less connected with the fan base and community. Taken to the extreme, you end up with a team that looks a lot like Isaiah Thomas’ Knicks a few years back: A whole lot of players who look good on paper, but fail to gel as a team because they’re too busy looking out for number one. A flagship NBA franchise became an embarrassment. Has anybody seen Stephon Marbury or Isaiah lately?
As Jazz fans, we’ve been spoiled by management who have been very loyal to players and coaches. They understand that team chemistry and stability are more important than single-player statistics. The commitment to team chemistry has allowed the Jazz to thrive in a small market, maintain a loyal fan base, and put consistently competitive teams on the court. Some things to consider:
- How many teams would have split the Stockton/Malone tandem up in the early 90’s?
- How many teams would have fired Jerry Sloan after the 04-05 season?
- How many teams would have fired Jerry Sloan after losing the finals in ‘98?
- How many teams would have been patient enough to wait for guys like Mark Eaton, Mike Brown, Tyrone Corbin, and more recently, CJ Miles and Fes, to develop?
- How many teams would have been as patient with Malone, Kirilenko, and Boozer?
- How many teams ignored Paul Millsap, Wesley Matthews, and Sundiata Gaines?
- How many teams would have drafted Marvin Williams, Charlie Villanueva, or Raymond Felton before Deron Williams?
- What other teams share these same qualities? Yep, the good ones, most notably the Spurs and Lakers.
Sure, the Jazz management isn’t perfect and we can all point out a few mistakes (Jose Ortiz and Walter Palmer). But the Jazz aren’t playing fantasy basketball. They understand that business IS personal. That team chemistry shouldn’t take a back seat to individual stats. That loyalty builds trust and long-term relationships. That if you contribute to this organization, you will receive much in return.
Here’s to hoping that the Jazz organization continues forward with this philosophy – and that it can make a revival in the professional sports world.
Has anyone seen New York’s 2010 first round pick?
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