Great leaders are never passive-aggressive. Look it up in your psychology books.

To get what you want, you must work for it. You must be aggressive in your pursuit to accomplish the goal you set.

Somebody could have all the talent in the world in one profession, but the other somebody with less talent that works harder will beat the first somebody out 99 times out of 100.

The reason is simple: repetition works. Your daily habits, whether good or bad, works for you, or else you wouldn’t be taking part in said habits. Reinforcing good habits is the cornerstone of being successful.

You have to be vocal about what you want and you can’t allow anybody to stand over top of you and take that away from you. Like I said, you must be aggressive in your pursuit to accomplish your goals.

Bill Russell, Larry Bird, Magic Johnson, Michael Jordan, Tim Duncan, Paul Pierce, Dwyane Wade and Kobe Bryant* are ALL — and WERE — great leaders. (PLEASE verbally punch me in the face for writing that Kobe Bryant is a great leader. What a potential typo!)

Guys like Carmelo Anthony and Amare Stoudemire are passive-aggressive. That’s fine. They aren’t leaders by any means, and they aren’t going to be carrying a team on their backs to win championships. That’s OK! They are scorers! I’m a big Stoudemire fan, but I don’t want him to be the leader of my team!!

Basketball is a very cerebral sport. Guys who are more focused with their haircuts or neck tattoos will not be winning championships any time soon.

Look at the Boston Celtics. They are an extremely cerebral team with a defense that rocks the ship. Rajon Rondo is one of the smartest players in the game. Rondo doesn’t have half the talent that Derrick Rose has, but he’s smarter than the rest of the field. Hell, the whole team plays defense better than the rest of the league — Rondo, Pierce, [Kevin] Garnett and [Kendrick] Perkins (Allen is meh) are phenomenal defenders. The head coach, Doc Rivers, is a defensive coach. Look at what the Celtics have accomplished over the past few years with a group of guys who WANT TO WIN.

Look at the Los Angeles Lakers. They are an extremely cerebral team. Phil Jackson cares about his triangle offense. It’s a smart offense. Kobe Bryant is smart; so is Pau Gasol! What about Derek Fisher?! What have they done the past three years? They have appeared in three NBA Finals and won the last two!

Look at the San Antonio Spurs! Four NBA championships since the ’98-’99 season! Tim Duncan is arguably the smartest guy in the league! Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili are no shafts, either! Gregg Popovich is also a top-2 coach (in my opinion he’s the best in the league)!

What do these three teams have in common? Great leaders and a smart head coach.

Look at the Detroit Pistons of the late ’80s — the bad boys! Two of their guys ended up becoming general managers! They won two championships and appeared in three! They had incredibly smart guys on the team!

Today’s NBA is a guard/wing league. Get a high IQ guard or two and a smart coach. Have at it! Establish a leader!


3 thoughts on “In the NBA, Great Leaders are NEVER Passive-Aggressive

  1. I’d agree with you that passive-aggressive “leadership” is not the way to go, but I think the line between productive and counter-productive actions is not clear to quite a few of the gold standard leaders in basketball.

    Phil Jackson, with his complaints about his own players to the media, sometimes acts very passive-aggressive.

    Meanwhile, Jordan’s ultra-domineering mindset wasn’t always best. The impact of his style of leadership in Washington was a terrible influence. Broke Kwame, and showed he could NOT be the volume scorer even when it made zero sense for him to volume score (regardless of game impact, when the goal is to develop other players, shoving them to the side does not help matters).

    I love any mention of Russell or Magic here though. To me, those guys are two of the best leaders you’ll see anywhere in human endeavors.

    1. Thanks for the comment, Matt.

      Interesting thing about Phil is that he likes to downplay whatever the media says and then get a rise out of them later. It’s as if he likes to provide fodder for them or something. Remember the brokeback comment he made a while back that got him in a little trouble?

      Good point about Jordan. In Washington he didn’t have the right type of players — or coach — around him. Doug Collins coached the Bulls for a few years in the early goings of Jordan’s career, but the Bulls didn’t win any titles in that run until Phil Jackson came along and implemented the triangle offense. The Bulls were also a very cerebral team and had a lot of smart players. I mean, heck, successful or not Steve Kerr became a general manager. The Wizards never really had winning chemistry on the team as an old Jordan tried to recapture his glory years.

      I wholeheartedly agree. I can’t help but be a Russell fan due to already being a Celtics fan, but I also can’t help but to love Magic! I love studying these guys’ work ethic and applying the way they worked to my everyday life. It’s inspiring.

      1. Laker fan here, though few would guess it. I hold Magic & Russell in equal regard as leaders, and consider Russell to have had the greatest career in NBA history.

        So my Laker homerdom doesn’t get in the way for Russell, but since I would take Magic over Bird 7 days a week, maybe it raises its head elsewhere.

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