As a former High School All-League Basketball Player, I love watching good basketball. I played for the famous Pete Carril at Lehigh for one year before he went to Princeton and became a legend. Pete taught “team basketball” and the importance of knowing your role on the team. We actually beat the eventual NIT Champion Rutgers U. team with our two 5′ 8″ guards, two 6′ 1″ forwards, and an overweight Center. This was accomplished by passing, moving, picking, defense, and boxing-out….all team concepts.
When Mark Cuban, the famous part-time Shark Tank investor, bought the Maverick Basketball Team in the NBA, the team was not a team. He did manage to put an entertaining “team” on the floor that scored a lot of points, but they were never good enough to win a Championship.
That, of course, all changed a couple of weeks ago when “The Mavs” beat the Miami Heat with one great player (Dirk Nowitzki) and one great coach (Rick Carlisle who played with the Boston Celtics). The other players all contributed significantly, played great defense, and bought-in to the “team concept” of basketball.
Let’s give Cuban some credit. There’s no question that in the past he was arrogant and sometimes immature, but he has learned a ton thru his days as an entrepreneur, investor, and team owner. Just like a successful entrepreneur, he subscribes to the need for lifetime learning and continuous improvement. For example……
*He stayed loyal to his key employees…especially Dirk….thru good times and bad. Mark made Dirk realize he was “his man” and was going to build the team around him. Dirk rewarded him by improving every year. Eventually he will enter the Hall of Fame.
*He constantly made moves to improve the team by acquiring players that could adapt to the team concept. An example would be bringing in Jason Kidd, the ageing point guard who everyone thought was over-the-hill.
*He learned how to control himself. Previously he would go on the court and yell at the referees. Not only did he rack-up many fines; he alienated and embarrassed his team (and the refs). He realized this wasn’t working, and stayed silent through-out the playoffs. Only after the Mavs claimed the trophy, did he celebrate and give interviews.
All entrepreneurs can learn from Mark Cuban. He’s always learning and always adapting. I think even he would tell you he learned a lot this year. As the legendary coach John Wooden once said, “It’s what you learn after you know it all that counts”.
I believe Mark Cuban learned that awhile ago.