Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Guess what this one's about?

Yep, that's exactly right. Leadership. Just about every article this summer can be categorized as "leadership," "Dwayne Wade", "Pacers suck," or "All of the above." Boring, you say? Nope. Quite the opposite.

Leaders of the Pack. Sports Illustrated. Arash Markazi.

lead·er (n.) 1. One that leads or guides. 2. One who is in charge or in command of others.

I'm very, very impressed that you managed to hold yourself in check and not write
"3. Dwyane Wade, Lebron James, or Carmelo Anthony."

Oh, Webster, if it was only that simple.

Would you like to try writing a dictionary?

If the definition of a leader could be summed up in a couple sentences, there wouldn't be thousands of books written on the subject

Um. People don't write books about the definition of a leader. They write books on how to become a leader. Big difference. Most everyone agrees on what a leader is. That would be that simple thing you quoted.

and countless seminars where people pony up hundreds of dollars to learn how to become an effective leader in (insert random number) easy steps.

Yep. I just saw a guy "ponying up" yesterday. I believe George Bush just appointed him as the new Secretary of Defense a few hours ago.

Everyone has theories on what it means to be a leader.

Um. Except not...

Vince Lombardi said that "leaders aren't born they are made,"

That would be a theory on how leaders are made not what they are. See the difference?

Napoleon Bonaparte said a "leader is a dealer in hope,"

You're quoting a French guy. Great way to make a strong argument.

while Groucho Marx said, "only one man in a thousand is a leader of men -- the other 999 follow women."

I'm pretty sure this is what they call a "joke." As in, it's not an actual theory. Actual, meaning a "real." In simple terms, this is commonly referred to as "humor." Novel, isn't it?

While it is one of the most powerful titles that can ever be bestowed upon a person,

One of the most powerful titles? Are you freakin' kidding me?? I can think up probably 1000 more desirable titles than "leader" off the top of my head.

it is bandied about in sports with the same carelessness as other lofty words such as "dynasty," "legend" and "immortal."

That's because leaders are far more common to come across than "legends" or "immortals." If you think about it, almost every team in every sport has a team leader, so to speak. Even the bad ones have them. Atlanta- Joe Johnson, GS- Jason Richardson, Houston- TMac, New York-... well, I did say "almost." Legends are "legendary" because they are rare. Hard to come across. Once a decade maybe. Comprendez-vous?

How many times have we heard reporters and fans alike ask, "Who's the leader on this team." Here's a hint, if you have to ask, there isn't one.

I seriously doubt I've ever heard anyone ask that. (Except of the Knicks.)

The leadership question was brought up several times during Team USA's training in Las Vegas last month. With so many all-stars and "leaders" on one team, how could you pick just one? Well, Mike Krzyzewski went the easy route on Thursday and picked three, and it was the best decision he's had to make since becoming the head coach of the national team.

So basically, he had 3 candidates to choose one from... and he decided to choose all three?? And this makes him a good coach? Fantastic analysis, one must admit.

In Sin City, it was quickly evident that the team gravitated toward LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Carmelo Anthony (who were later named co-captains while practicing in Sapporo, Japan). I mentioned as much in this spot

Gee, thanks for the inside dish... on who the team captains for the USA world team are. I was just dying to know.

more than two weeks ago when Kryzewski told me that, "The guys look up to LeBron, Dwyane and Carmelo. They are three established guys in the league and those are the three initially that set the tone because they've worked hard everyday."

This is decidedly ironic, especially once one completes reading the next sentence (pay attention to the Chris Paul part).

Players would hang out in James' room and play cards, booray to be exact, pick Wade's brain about winning the championship a few months ago and listen to Anthony tell jokes and rib other players, especially Chris Paul, who carried 'Melo's bags to and from practice.

Yep, 'Melo's worked hard every day. Chris Paul? What's he done? Carry some dude's bags around?

While the trio are the undisputed leaders on their respective teams (with all due respect to Shaquille O'Neal),

Of which, two out of the three teams are at best average...

no three superstars were meant to handle the role of tri-captains better than the stars of the Class of 2003.

Want to explain?

Not only does the threesome get along better than most teammates -- never showing any animosity towards each other despite their competitive nature -- but they embody what it takes to be a leader in today's game, which isn't always easy to do.

Oh! That's what it is! They're such spectacular leaders because they get along better!!! How did you figure it out? Oh, and what's that? They embody what it takes to be a leader??? I haven't read such brilliant ideas in, well, ever! Hey, aspiring youngsters! Make sure you don't show any animosity, and you could be a USA team captain too!

Being a team leader in the current sports climate is a tricky position. It's a far cry from the simplistic popularity scale we all experienced back in high school.

This comparison deserves no comments.

No one in school ever followed the smartest student who aced every test and spent most of his time cooped up in his room dissecting the Pythagorean Theorem.

Thanks for showing all your readers your amazing math skills! Pythagorean Theorem? What's that? Sounds so complicated, though!

Who the HELL dissects the Pythagorean Theorem?!??!?! What would such an activity even mean? Dissect the Pythagorean Theorem?!!? This is way, way, way too good.

Sure we could have all gained something from hanging out at his house and playing Dungeons and Dragons for fun after making flash cards for next month's test, but who wants to do that?

No thanks, dude. I'd rather dissect some more theorems.

Most of us followed the fun-loving dude throwing the kegger at his house after the game on Friday night.

Hmm, that would definitely help to explain your severe lack of brain cells.

A great leader in today's game is an equal balance of Dungeons and Dragons and Dewar's and Drambuie.

Playing Dungeons and Dragons... means you're smart?

Not only does he have to be the smartest guy in school, but he also has to be the guy throwing the best parties, making sure everyone is getting along and having a good time. You see, the key isn't just how good you are at what you do, but how good you make other people feel while you do what you do. That's what makes James, Wade and Anthony great leaders.

Read: James, Wade and Anthony dissect the Pythagorean Theorum, play dungeons and dragons, make flash cards, and throw the best parties... all at the same time!

They not only excel on the court, but they will be the first to pick up their teammates when they are down, talk to them after practice and buy them a round at the club that night.

And they play basketball?!? Pinch me.

If Team USA wins the gold, with the Class of '03 trio leading the way, it will be interesting to see how the team reacts to the addition of Kobe Bryant when he returns to the squad following the World Championships after he recuperates from his knee surgery. Would Bryant be content to take a back seat to three younger players and not be the unquestioned leader?

Of course! I mean the guy didn't even complete college! How can you expect him to even know what the Pythagorean Theorem even is!

Bryant is very much like the kid with straight A's who never learned how to interact with the other students.

Leading the league in scoring = getting straight A's and not interacting... I don't see the connection. At all.

While he may be the most physically gifted player in the game,

You mean most talented, right?

there is little doubt that he's also one of the most enigmatic.

And what, pray tell, does this have to do with your article?

That potential drama, however, will have to wait for another day as Team USA prepares for the start of the World Championships this weekend in Japan where they will be lead by Anthony, James and Wade, three players whose leadership qualities on the court and off the court might just might make for the right mix to bring back the team's first gold medal of any kind in six years.

And immediately after the awards ceremony, join these three leaders for their press conference where they will be announcing their discovery of "The Pythagorean Theorem: Part 2"! Free flash cards will be distributed.