Let me disclaim that I am an Oakland resident and a Warriors fan. I also must admit that at game four of the championship series, I thought we had it in the bag. I was making preliminary plans for the parade. We all know what happened next. The Cavs broke an NBA record just like the Warriors did in the previous series against Oklahoma. The Warriors went on a three-game run to win the series in seven games and take the division championship at home. I watched as Cleveland erupted into blue, red and gold flames of joy, pride, relief and bliss - just like we did last summer. I know exactly how they felt. I remember that feeling. Strangers, bonded in joy, shared tears and embraces that said: FINALLY. We’re here. We made it...together. Later, after the game the true spirit of that night was captured on camera during the press conference.
J.R. Smith sits on the dais hunched over, his face in his hands while his shoulders vibrate with the reverb of trying to hide an ugly cry. Seconds before a journalist inquired about the possible significance of this win on Father’s Day. The camera cuts to Earl Smith, Jr. - J.R.’s father. They have the same cheekbones and focused gaze. When J.R. finally lifts his head to speak, his face is wet; his is voice is tenuous; his words are emotional:
I mean, my parents, my family -- that's the biggest inspiration in my life. I've been in a lot of dark spots in my life, and if it wasn't for them, I wouldn't be able to get out of them. But they are who they are. They followed me. They yelled at me, they screamed at me. They loved me. They hugged me. They cried with me. They always stuck by my side, no matter right or wrong. And I know a lot of people don't have their parents in their life -- their mother or their father -- but, I got the best two. You guys were, I swear...Honestly, if it wasn't for them -- if it wasn't for the structure and the backbone that I have -- I wouldn't be able to mess up and keep coming back and being able to sit in front of you as a world champion.
When J.R. finishes speaking he walks directly into his father’s arms and sobs. What a powerful moment.
At the very zenith of his career, J.R. Smith fearlessly and humbly sat in his vulnerability as he cried through expressing his profound gratitude to his parents while his father listened from the gallery and the world watched from its couches. This man, whose team just won the national championship, was undone by the love and support he’d received from the people who were on HIS team. Though we could only see J.R., he was not up there by himself. He carried with him everyone who held him accountable, stood by and behind him, and loved him through. Two teams won that night: the Cavs and Team J.R. This got me thinking about about the power of our personal teams. When you win who wins with you?
We are all in the arenas of our own lives fighting/playing hard for the hits, downs, baskets, blocks, rebounds, steals, and saves that one-by-one inch us closer to our wins. Some folks are on the field with you, running plays. Some are in the stands cheering you on. Some are watching from their couch. At Mosaic Coaching Solutions (MCS) we offer an exercise called Captain and Crew that examines who is on your team and the role that they each play. Who is your captain and who is in on your crew? Who is on the field or court with you? Do you have the right people in the right positions so that you have a clear lane to success?