Last summer was the largest free agency for the NBA. Of these free agents, one of the most crucial was Lebron James. During a televised interview with Jim Gray, Lebron announced he was joining Dwayne Wade, Chris Bosh and the Miami Heat to compete for a NBA title. Naturally this announcement caused an uproar. Of course I expected major backlash from the home town fans of Cleveland. (I didn’t expect the burning jerseys though.) But I was shocked by the fact that several people were also disgusted by him choosing to leave the Cavs…and many were non-Cleveland residents or non-basketball fans. I heard different statements thrown around like, “Oh, Lebron isn’t a leader since he chose to leave,” “It was no longer ‘his’ team” and “MJ wouldn’t have done that.” ESPN even asked MJ himself if that would have been a decision he would have opted for.
In business, we try to attract the most intelligent, creative, hardworking individuals to heighten our chances of increasing the bottom line. How is this any different than what Lebron did? Can you name one NBA team that didn’t have at least two All-stars or really great players? The Bulls had the Big Three (MJ, Pippen, Rodman) long before the current Celtics. In addition, I don’t remember a huge negative response when Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen joined Paul Pierce. In any formalized group, there’s usually a leader or “go-to” person that the team leans on for guidance. There wouldn’t be titles for Jordan or Kobe without teammates who knew their roles and were able to deliver when duty called, e.g. the Bulls’ John Paxson and Steve Kerr or the Lakers’ Derek Fisher and Pau Gasol.
My point? Creating a spectacular team will do wonders for your organization. I highly recommend that you do everything humanly possible to attract the best talent as long as it’s ethical and legal. Nobody said, “Hey Larry Page, Google’s not your business because Sergey Brin created it with you.” Everyone just respects the company for the tech juggernaut it has become.
I can’t predict what will happen in the 2011 playoffs with the new and improved Heat team, but there are two things that are certain: 1) the Heat will be exciting to watch and 2) creating the best team you can conjure up can help increase your chances of succeeding than you doing it all on your own. Sure, creating an all-star cast can be tricky with egos, expectations, etc. But if everyone is bringing a unique skill to the table and co exists, the opportunities from the collaboration are infinite.
What are your thoughts about the Heat trade? Was it good business?
Charles W. Singleton
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