Carmelo Anthony Needs a Better Team Around Him – But isn’t He Supposed to Make the Team Better?
When LeBron James announced “The Decision” to leave the Cleveland Cavaliers for the Miami Heat in 2009, his primary reason for abruptly jumping ship, according to him, was to have a better team around him (and therefore a better chance to win an NBA championship). Of course, having a more talented team around a superstar increases the chances for a championship — but isn’t it the superstar’s job to make the players he/she has around that much better?
Today Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim was quoted saying that Carmelo Anthony will never win an NBA championship with the current players on the Knicks (several of whom are either current or former NBA All Stars, coincidentally). So, in essence, Boeheim seems to be saying that if you put better players around the superstar player only then will the chances to win a championship increase. Sure, that makes sense —- but what about the responsibilities for players to make his or her teammates better and more mentally tougher rather than relying simply on having great players on the team??
In the world of sport psychology, I think one of the greatest tasks athletes face is helping make those around the athlete that much better because of the athlete’s leadership abilities. LeBron James will always be criticized for taking the easy way out and jumping on board with a better team in Miami than what he had in Cleveland, which is unfortunate as many people believe (myself included) that he could have gotten the Cavaliers over the hump in time — similar to what Michael Jordan did with the players he had to work with in Chicago in the 90’s. The real challenge is being a great leader and helping teammates know their role, buy into the team, and develop the confidence needed to succeed.
Of course, it goes without saying that if Carmelo Anthony had even better talent around him, his chances for a future NBA championship would likely increase. But isn’t that sort of the easy way to go? Similarly, you could get better grades in school if you took easier classes, but what does that prove? In the future I hope more elite-level athletes will focus on making those around them that much better because of their leadership and guidance instead of simply looking to “load up” with other great players. Helping teammates reach their full potential is a great challenge, and makes championships that much more special than simply winning because you have the best players.