When you think of the greatest NBA player in the world right now, the name Lebron James comes to mind. He is, after all, the only current player to average at least 25 points, six rebounds, and six assists in his career. Yes, Lebron is a superstar, but when he and his Cavaliers met the Golden State Warriors in the NBA finals last year, it was the Warriors who came out on top. What is it that makes Golden State so dominant, even when facing the world’s best player? Well it could be the fact they have all-stars players of their own, but more importantly, it’s that all their all-stars know how to work together.

Put simply, the Warriors ability to work together as a team has made them the best in the world. San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich summed it up perfectly: “The Warriors are the best of both worlds: A super team that also plays beautiful, flowing team basketball.”

Here are five things the Golden State Warriors teach us about being a good teammate.

Be willing to pass the ball  

During an NBA final game, sideline reporter Doris Burke asked Warriors head coach Steve Kerr about his team’s willingness to share the ball. Kerr responded, “It’s just who they are. They like all to pass, they all like to move the ball and it works well for them.”

No team in the NBA is more pass-happy than the Warriors. In fact, they lead the league in assists per game last season.

This is noteworthy because they have some of the best players in the world in Steph Curry, Kevin Durant, and Klay Thompson. One would think that egos would get in the way, but instead of trying to snatch the spotlight for themselves, the three work together to get the job done.

Similarly, if you only ever focus on individual goals, you’ll hold back your team, and miss out on opportunities and experience. Instead, focus on what you can bring to the team and be willing to pass the ball.

Communicate with your team

Sure, the Warriors have an incredible offense, but what really wins them championships has been their backend. The Warriors have improved tremendously on defence by becoming one of the best teams at something called constant switching. This kind of defence can disrupt an opposing team’s efforts to run screens, but it is complicated to run. To pull it off, the Warriors need to be constantly communicating with one another to know who they need to be guarding and where they need to move.

This is a good lesson for just about anyone that works in a team; you need to be able to communicate with your co-workers and managers to make sure that everyone is on the same page, and working towards the same goal. It’s also important to nip any issues in the bud, before they turn into major problems.

Always be accountable

Back in 2008-09, the Warriors were having a terrible season. When asked about their struggles, Stephen Jackson responded, “It ain’t me.”

Fast forward to the present-day Warriors and the story has changed completely. When the team lost games two and three of the 2015 final, Steph Curry refused to blame others. “I’ve got to be a better player,” he told the media. Instead of coming up with excuses and blaming each other, the Warriors have made accountability a key component of their culture.

Similarly, to be a successful teammate at work, you need to be accountable for your actions. If you said you would take on a task, see it through. If you make a mistake, own up to it and work with your teammates to fix it. No one is perfect, but being willing to own up to our mistakes can help make you a perfect teammate.

Be confident

According to Pelicans coach Monty Williams, the reason the Warriors are so dominant is because they have two starting lineups. This is a team so confident in their abilities, even backups like Marreese Speights can step into a game and keep the level of play high.

Confidence is also directly related to your success at work. In fact, people who are less confident have been shown to hesitate to getting their work done, and may also be less willing to contribute to a team. So, it might seem counter-intuitive, but to be a successful teammate, you need to believe in yourself. That confidence will improve your performance, and increase the trust your co-workers have in you.

Destroy the competition  

The Warriors don’t just want beat their opponents, they want to destroy them. Leading up to the 2017 NBA finals against the Cavaliers, the Warriors were a perfect 12-0. They managed this by playing a relentless style that never let their opponents get any kind of momentum.

Individually and collectively, they played every minute with purpose and intensity, never once taking their foot off the gas. This level of competitiveness paid off – they went on to win their second title in three years.

How do you create and contribute to a high level of competitiveness? By showing up every day with a winning attitude and the desire to get the job done, you can alter the culture and inspire others to do the same.

The Warriors have taught us that being the best is not about individual players, but about an entire team working together. The same goes for work. Succeeding on the job usually involves working as a team, and being a great teammate can make all the difference in the world.


Mia Gordon is a former professional tennis player and a sports broadcaster. Over the course of six years, she has worked for TSN, CBC Olympics, and the Sun News Network. She is now a host, reporter, and producer for Sportsnet and the National Lacrosse League.


See also:

4 ways to get yourself out of any slump

5 career lessons we can learn from Roger Federer’s comeback

What Auston Matthews can teach you about starting a new job


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