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June 26, 2014

RONN MOTT: Teamwork

Teamwork. You remember the drill. In the movie “Hoosiers,” the coach demanded four passes before anything else happened on the court. The idea of teamwork is you work toward a victory by making sure your self-interest doesn’t come before the team.

It is something that LeBron James and the little two of the big three have not mastered. Not many of us, unless we lived in Miami, could name the rest of the Miami Heat after all of the publicity given to the “Big Three.” It certainly showed in the championship series with San Antonio. San Antonio had players from the Caribbean, Argentina, France and Australia. Those are just the ones I know about. It was a diverse team of culture, national origin, and basketball arts that came from all of these different sources. In a game that was invented in America, the Americans who play for Miami did not know much about teamwork, defense and general good play at both ends of the court. 

The ironic thing to me was that the man who was selected Most Valuable Player of the series was a player barely known and barely talked about in the pre-game hype. There is something to be said about teamwork and coming off the bench to make a large contribution to your team’s victory. 

San Antonio’s passing of the ball was fast, sharp and right on the mark while Miami rolled back on its heels and watched the passes fly by them. San Antonio played like a small college team about to upset the University of Kentucky. 

In the hallways of the NBA, I am sure there is much discussion about Carmelo Anthony being a free agent. Carmelo is a one-man gang when it comes to shooting. He’s accurate from anywhere on the floor and is, perhaps, the best shooter in the NBA. But, to play for someone like San Antonio, he would have to learn defensive skills, give up the long distance shot and pass to the open man closest to the basket … something he hasn’t done in his NBA career. 

I’m sure the decision-makers for San Antonio will fill the holes in their team that are needed and they will be filled by players who understand how to win, even in the NBA. 

San Antonio is a fairly small town compared to Los Angeles and Chicago, but they are beloved by their local fans for the diversification the team puts on the floor every night they play. There is no argument here that LeBron James is the best individual player in the NBA. However, this championship has shown to the world the best player plus two others cannot beat a team playing teamwork to perfection. If you are a young basketball player in this basketball-crazy state, file that as something to remember. Teamwork will best individual glory every time and almost every place. San Antonio ... congratulations!

Ronn Mott, a longtime radio personality in Terre Haute, writes commentaries for the Tribune-Star. His pieces are published online Tuesday and Thursday on Tribstar.com, and in the print and online editions on Saturday.

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