But to win an NBA championship will take more than a superstar. It takes teamwork.
To show how central teamwork is to basketball, let’s look at the legendary 1990’s Chicago Bulls. The feats of the Bulls dynasty were shown in the Netflix documentary called ‘The Last Dance’. (If you’ve not seen it yet, then I couldn’t recommend it enough). The Bulls won SIX championships between 1991-1998, winning 3 in a row on 2 separate occasions. That’s right. Six.
Sure, they had one of the game’s greatest ever players in Michael Jordan, which always helps. But subsequent franchises have struggled to emulate this success, even with stars of their own.
What made the Bulls so special was the emphasis that was placed on the team over the individual. This came from the head coach, Phil Jackson – who has the highest ever win percentage of any coach in the history of the game. It’s important to note that Michael Jordan was already a star before Jackson became head coach. He won the Most Valuable Player (MVP) in the 1987-88 season, but that had not brought a championship to Chicago.
Jackson changed the culture at the Bulls - not just on the court, but off it too. On the court, Jackson deployed the ‘Triangle Offense’, which was revolutionary at the time. Think of it as like the ‘tiki-taka’ system used by Pep Guardiola at Barcelona. Players work in triangles; passing, moving, with each part planned so meticulously that it becomes poetry in motion. Synergy. It involves all the players working together if it is to come off.