I seldom post about basketball so bear with me this time. You know, being on the basketball bench is among my dream jobs but not as what you probably think. Sharing with you my own starting 5 — some insights on business and money from the GSW journey, before the championship hangover dies down.
If you’ve been following the NBA, this off-season is going nuts, probably among the busiest for many teams as they scramble to draft, to trade and to rebuild their teams. Why? Because they want to stay competitive, and have a chance at beating the Warriors. The team’s success trajectory has been rocketing upward the past 5 seasons or so because of their new formula. Before we had Star Players, then Power Duos, then daunted The Big Threes, and now it seems 3 superstars are no longer enough. Or so it seems.
Well GSW has their “death lineup” and probably that’s what other teams are trying to build too. But in reality, GSW’s success is way beyond that. Basketball has always been and will always be a team support. You need 5 on the floor with great chemistry, and 7 more on the bench who are ready anytime their number is called. Plus the coaching staff, trainers, ball boys, etc. Enough of basketball, calling now the first 5:
1. TWEAKING THE SUCCESS FORMULA
GSW franchise has been struggling for so long, having won their last championship in 1975 prior to the one in 2015. 40 years. With the change in ownership, one who is venture capitalist, management induced more math and science in their approach. They found that the shooting percentage of long 2s and 3s are no very far apart, so they thought, instead of shooting long 2s, why not step back a bit more and shoot 3s instead. Almost same chances of going in, but you score 50% more in each converted possession.
And the rest is history. Step back a bit more you say? In comes Steph Curry who has been struggling in his rookie years due to injuries. They built a team around him, adding his Splash brother duo Klay Thompson, and they both mastered the 3 point range, and even way beyond that.
Lesson: Not everything needs a overhaul. Sometimes, a small tweak can do the trick. Like cooking, slowly perfecting the recipe with minute adjustments in ingredients and condiments. Sometimes, Juan only needs to step back to see the bigger picture, especially when we’re so engrossed with the daily minute details of life. Step back, see the bigger picture, know where you’re headed, identify opportunities and areas for improvement.
2. GOING OUT OF THE BOX
Traditional basketball always had 5 positions on the court — Point Guard (PG), Small Guard (SG), Forward (F), Power Forward (PF) and Center (C). When LeBron came to the league, it slowly changed because that monster-of-an-athlete can play all lineups! #Respect.
So does GSW’s “Death Lineup.” Playing small ball, the tallest among the 5 on the floor can also run fastbreaks, bring the ball, set plays and screens, and of course shoot 3s. This has drastically changed the game because other teams who are used to the 5 old positions encounter a serious mismatch when playing against GSW — they tend to be too big, too slow and can’t defend the 3s. Either they try to match the small ball death lineup, or stick to what they have been used to, stick to the plan –with little to no success.
Lesson: Uber, Grab, AirBnB, Spotify, Amazon, Tesla, Facebook and many more. These are all disruptive technologies, out of the box businesses, led by visionary founders. Before, we were skeptic and used to ask: who in his right mind would pay for that?!! And yet, they changed the dynamics of the industries they entered. Still nurturing that silly counter intuitive business idea? Why not? It doesn’t have to be as big as world changing technology. It can be as simple as an out-of-the-box promo, campaign or product variant. Like Chooks-to-Go, lechon manok na walang sauce?!! At this day and age, out-of-the-box can win you championships and leave competition struggling to catch up.
3. KEEP FAITH, KEEP FOCUSED
As Steph’s career and fame was rising, he reportedly got a shoe contract offer from the leading global brand with a swoosh. Chance of a lifetime?!? Being a devout Christian, SC30 wanted a biblical quote in the shoe: “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Phi. 4:13). Suffice to say, the negotiations did not push through. Eventually, an upcoming brand UA took on the Curry’s demands, and that has catapulted the brand to global status ever since.
Lesson: Offers and opportunities will come and go, but Juan should not compromise his faith, his deepest beliefs, his integrity just for momentary monetary gain. Have faith, keep faith. God wants you to be rich, but it doesn’t mean you grab all the offers that come your way. Weigh them in your conscience — is this aligned with what you believe in? Just keep shooting, just keep on investing. Harvest is coming.
Speaking of harvest time, Steph Curry got ~$44M in his last 4 years of playing, making him the 81st highest paid player during that time. 81st?!?! Yup, when he plays and contributes more compared to probably 3/4 of the first 80 players who get paid more. 81st despite being arguably among the top 10 players in terms of positive contribution to the team. 81st despite helping the team reach the NBA Finals in 3 out of those 4 years, and win the NBA championship in 2 out of those 4 years.
You might say but $11M annually is already a lot?!? For us mere mortals it is more than enough, but for NBA Superstars, it is very small. It is the salary of role players, not team stars. When asked about this, he said:
It’s what you got and how you take care of it. Feeling underpaid? There’s no harm in looking for greener pastures. We all want that. But take note that most of us also feel underpaid but don’t have the business results to show that we actually deserve more.
Lesson: Focus on your own money journey. Focus on growing your own net worth. Don’t be intimated by those who post their stock portfolio gains on Facebook, focus on growing your own portfolio, on improving your trade. Most of you are probably richer than me and I don’t mind. I’m focused with growing my wealth (which I’ve grown 600x in the past 10 years), on reaching my fullest potential, on claiming all the abundance that my God has in store for me. Don’t wait to have more money before you start managing it. Manage and take care of what you have right now, and soon you’ll have more.
4. BRING OTHERS WITH YOU
Steph is harvesting what he planted years ago, about to get $40M again, but this time annually for the next 5 years, not total in 4 years. Kevin Durant meanwhile is getting himself a pay cut this coming season to enable the team to give more income to other players without exceeding the salary cap that NBA mandates to each team. LeBron does not sign long term contracts and he’s usually the last to finalize his contract, to give leeway to management to offer higher salaries to teammates.
These stars very well know that they earn more than enough (I hope they’re investing too), and they also know that they will need reliable and happy teammates if they want to keep on winning championships. As such, they know how to share their blessings.
Lesson: Give cheerfully and you shall receive it back sevenfold. The journey to wealth need not be a greedy journey. In life we don’t have salary caps: you getting wealthy doesn’t mean someone is getting poorer. That’s a wrong mindset. In fact, all of us can become wealthy together, as long as we know how to create value. You create value, you create wealth. If you know of a way to have a richer life, go for it! Then,
5. ROLL WITH MINE
If you heard Moana’s song, there’s a line which goes “I know everybody on this island has role on this island / So maybe I can roll with mine.” Yes the Death Lineup is crucial to GSW success but they can only do so much. The role players, the super subs need to pull their own weights too. The system of GSW of sharing the ball, constant movement, multiple screens and selfless basketball is very conducive for role players to also contribute. But without the system, without the sharing mindset, without the team mindset, championships will be hard to come by. Ask The Beard, LBJ and Russ.
The likes of McGee, Clark, McAdoo, West, Livingston, they contribute quality minutes because of the mindset and discipline of the team. Sometimes, when the stars are having off-nights, the role players never cease to provide the energy, the defense to give the team better chances of winning. Getting to NBA is no easy feat so it follows that all of them are world class athletes in their own right. But it takes a good consistent system, a team mindset, selfless basketball to bring out these overflowing talents through open shots, scoring opportunities, confidence-boosters eventually leading to wins. (Side note: This is also what I like with Pop and the SA Spurs).
And don’t forget the crowd, the “Roaracle” (where many are also Pinoys), who provide the juice, the atmosphere, the homecrowd which has an intangible invaluable impact to the games. As their hashtag goes, #StrengthInNumbers.
Lesson: There’s no “I” in “TEAM”. So if you have a team, aside from bringing them to richer lives as well, you bring out the best in them. Successful entrepreneurs did not make it on their own. They delegated certain roles, outsourced processes that are not their core expertise, trusted teammates and suppliers. Juan can’t do it all, he has to have reliable teammates and support systems. Don’t forget your inner circle, your family. Value them. take care of them.
Constantly tweak and improve your formula for success, dare to go out of the box, keep your faith and your focus to your goal, bring others with you, value the various roles in your business and in life. Congrats Dubs! #StrengthInNumbers
Photos and videos are from the warriors instagram account.
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