The reigning NBA World Champions are the Golden State Warriors. As of this writing, they have started this season defending their undefeated title of 23-0. (Once writing this they lost their first game of the year after starting 24-0) Last year everyone was excited for them because they were the new team on the block and there were other villains to pull against. They have two of the best three-point shooters in the history of basketball – – Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson. They are nicknamed the “Splash Brothers” for their prolific shooting expertise. Over last season, people were amazed at their ability to consistently make 3-point shots from any place on the floor. They were a highlight reel every night. But enough is apparently enough.
No team in history has started 24-0. That is not supposed to happen. A 6’3” skinny, well-mannered young man who almost never approaches the lane, much less the rim is not supposed to be the most dominant basketball player in the world. No team should look like they are toying with every other team night in and night out. Basketball should be played the way it has always been played. Driving to the basket and dunking with occasional outside shooting from a kick out. Big men defending the basket and getting rebounds. Offenses designed to get the closest, easiest shot possible. Every team in the NBA is built that way. Until now….and now there is an exception.
Now, current and former players, coaches and sportscasters are all criticizing the way the Warriors play. Their argument is that the game is not meant to be played that way. A team has taken the rules and mastered a portion of the game that no one else chose to master, and now the rules need to be changed or play should be condemned because no one else made the same effort. The 3-point shot has been a part of the NBA game for 25 years. Why is it suddenly not the way the game is supposed to be played? The biggest reason is the curve is too steep for every other team. Someone chose to master something that no one else had mastered and now the rules need to be changed.
Basketball is not the only place we see this. We find the same thought process in almost every other area of life. We are happy with the rules as long as everyone is attacking the problem the same exact way. Let someone find an unusual solution or master something that everyone else has chosen to ignore and things change. Once they begin to dominate, people will get upset. We resent anyone getting too far ahead of us or gaining in places where we did not think to go. When the gains show up in the form of money or influence, which is where most people want more, the green-eyed monster makes his appearance. The jealousy of mastery shows up in business, families, churches, politics and almost every area of life.
Our criticisms of these masters range from calling them lucky to criminal. We are often unwilling to accept the fact that someone chose to put in the time and energy to focus on something and master it. We create new rules and pass new laws all in an attempt, at least in our own minds, to level the playing field. This methodology works until someone masters something new and the process starts all over again. Instead of criticizing everyone that has the energy and commitment to excel, why not use that time and energy to become a master of something ourselves. Anyone can criticize and find fault. It takes a special person to focus those efforts on improving and gaining. We need a world that is less jealous of other’s success and more determined to make their own.