It’s one of the oldest clichés in sports: There’s no “I” in team.
But in reality, it is spot-on.
It should always be about the team, not just one individual player — no matter how good s/he is.
Enter the here and now.
If you think analytics have run amuck in sports, this catering to one player’s career is even worse.
You see it now more than ever. It’s all about not wasting a particular player’s career. Somehow, the team must do anything and everything to assure that a certain player wins in their career. If not, that player has to move onto a better situation.
Often, the journey and struggle makes the reward even sweeter. The Chicago Bulls didn’t waste Michael Jordan’s first seven years. There were just better teams and players in his way.
That notion isn’t accepted today, however.
The latest nonsense came from Golden State. Somehow, management had to assure Steph Curry that the Warriors will do all it can to make sure he wins over the rest of his already stellar career.
General manager Bob Myers said that the Warriors feel a responsibility to maximize Curry’s title window.
Not the organization’s window, but Curry’s.
“We feel that responsibility until that guy’s retired, or not on our team,” Myers told the media. “You have to honor that.
“You have to do what you can, but that doesn’t mean those opportunities are out there every day and they’re easy to find. You’re always looking, but that’s your job.”
What makes no sense is that the mission of trying to win is pinned on helping Curry win. Didn’t the team already set up Curry when they added Kevin Durant to a team that had already won a title. Plus, Curry has won three NBA championships.
Yet, somehow, the Warriors owe Curry something more at this point of his career.
The mission should be for an organization to try to win all the time. And when you single out Curry, does that mean Klay Thompson’s and Draymond Green’s careers don’t matter as much? And if Curry wasn’t on the team, the Warriors wouldn’t try as hard to win for those guys?
None of it makes sense.
And guess what. Everybody can’t win.
So if a team doesn’t win, does that really mean that the franchise wasted a player’s career.
But that’s where we are today. It’s all about catering to a single star player. That’s why there are two quarterbacks in the NFL that both believe their legacies are more important than anyone else’s.
First, Deshaun Watson decided the Texans don’t know what they are doing despite making the playoffs four of the previous six seasons.
Somehow, because he wasn’t a part of the interview process to hire the team’s new general manager, he no longer wants to play in Houston and has asked to be traded.
Remember, Watson is the same guy who signed a mega-bucks contract with this organization after it traded his No. 1 target in DeAndre Hopkins to Arizona.
That would have been the time to cry foul and demand a trade. Instead, he agreed with the team’s decision and took the money anyway.
Same goes for Russell Wilson with the Seattle Seahawks.
Somehow, after going to the Super Bowl twice and winning once, Wilson doesn’t believe Seattle is working to secure his legacy. He has been vocal publicly against the team.
Never once did Wilson admit his legacy would be even greater had he not thrown that interception at the goal line to lose the Super Bowl to the New England Patriots.
And while Wilson hasn’t officially asked for a trade, he has hinted that he wouldn’t mind moving on to another team he deems to be a better situation for him.
And let’s not forget James Harden’s exit from the Rockets. For sure, Houston did all it could to put other stars around him. They brought in Dwight Howard, Chris Paul and Russell Westbrook. And while the team made a few serious runs, ultimately it couldn’t get to the NBA Finals.
Hardly, did they waste Harden’s precious years. Plus, they might have actually gotten to a championship if Harden, himself, didn’t melt down in big spots under the bright postseason lights.
Sports teams should simply be trying to win all the time — and mostly for the fanbase, not just a player obsessed with their place in history.
“What’s your responsibility?” Myers said about Curry. “It’s to help him win a championship, to put the best players around him that you can.”
It should be about the Warriors, not just Curry. These days, teams have the wrong focus.