Selfish Success

One of the basketball players I remember from my teen years is Dennis Hopson. He starred with the Ohio State Buckeyes and later played in the NBA as backup to Michael Jordan. “He is now an assistant coach at Northwood University in West Palm Beach, Florida, serving under legend Rollie Massimino.”1 None of that may be interesting to you unless you remember him. However, something he said in an October 2006 interview caught my eye. His perspective on the NBA is that success usually comes to those who are selfish.

From my career, I learned that everyone — coaching-wise — has their own style. If you play the game the proper way, it doesn’t really matter who you’re playing for. I know people looked at me as a No. 3 pick and ask “how come he doesn’t score 20 points a game?” and I’ll tell you why … I wasn’t selfish enough. Today, there are a ton of guys who can score 20 points a game because they’re getting 40 minutes a game. But there are few guys in today’s game who you can turn to to help you win a ball game. … That’s not around much today, though. Today’s game is about ‘greed.’ And, unfortunately, many GMs are falling into that same trap, feeding this greed, causing the younger kids that want to play this game the wrong way to play.

There is wisdom in those words. Selfishness may garner statistics, but it will also make a negative impact on the rest of the team. Sadly, selfishness is not limited to sports. If only we would remember the example of our Lord more often, we would do much better.

Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others. Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.

Philippians 2:3-8