Michael Jordan didn’t win all of those championship rings by himself. He had help. Good help. And you know what they say about good help. So why was Michael such a successful basketball player? Indeed, why was he soooooo successful?
MJ was the consummate team player. Jordan knew that there is no “I” in team. His whole mentality was to win, by any means necessary. If he needed to score, he would score. If he needed to dish out assists, he would get double-digit assists. If he needed to play suffocating “D”, he would do just that. Jordan was a team player. Sounds spiritual to me.
But most importantly, since there is no “I” in team, Jordan knew how to use his teammates in their strengths. MJ knew he couldn’t just score his way to the ultimate victory. There is so much more to winning then just scoring. He figured out how to get all of his teammates involved in every game. He learned how to blend and meld a diverse group of variously talented, vigorously temperamental, and victoriously trumpeted athletes together to form a truly great championship team. How about using these principles in our everyday Christian lives?
MJ wasn’t always a team player. After leading the league in scoring but loosing year after year in the early rounds of the playoffs, or not making the playoffs at all, Jordan figured out that there is no “I” in team. More than anything else, it was Jordan’s personality that transported the Bulls of the mid ‘90’s from good to great. And an enormous impact was made by the untraditional Dennis Rodman, who gave the Bulls the dominant rebounder they lacked – and in concert with the singularly agile and versatile Pippen, and the six-man, Toni Kukoc, the team dominated the league.
Jordan knew how to get along with, and yes, sometimes put up with, all of his teammates, including the red-headed Rodman. And as Christians, when we learn how to get along with each other, when we learn how to love each other, when we learn how to band together and remember that there is no “I” on the “church team,” we will dominate as well.
The Chicago Bulls were a band of team players. Once they latched on to the notion that there is no “I” in team, the 1995-96 Bulls went on to post a 72-10 regular season record, the best ever, and they cut through the playoffs like a hot knife through butter. They won the fourth championship for the franchise, en route to the first championship win in their second “three-peat.”
Phil Jackson coached this team of all-stars who were highly motivated and wanted to prove just how good they were. They proved that there is no “I” in team. They proved that the way to win is to be a team player. They proved that the way to win is “team, team, team.” We have Gene Hackman to thank for that line (see Hoosiers).
Every believer should be a team player. So what is a team player? Or more precisely, how do you spot a team player? Here’s how. A team player has:
1. A Desire to Win
2. Knowledge of the Game and A Passion for the Game
3. A Selfless Spirit (Does What Needs To Be Done)
4. Knowledge of the Strengths and Weakness of His/Her Teammates
5. Friends With Teammates On and Off the Court
So, are you a team player?