“…it’s not about MVPs, it’s about rings.” – Joakim Noah
As a fan of the University of Kentucky men’s basketball team, I am generally not a fan of the University of Florida. A few years ago, when Florida was winning back to back NCAA tournaments, Joakim Noah was front and center in both title runs. Joakim Noah drive me nuts. He was everywhere. He played relentless defense. He played ugly. He dove after loose balls. He was cocky. And it seemed like he always had a field day against UK, or maybe that’s just my cloudy, bitter recollection.
The truth of the matter is, had Joakim Noah been wearing Kentucky blue instead of Gator blue, he would have been one of my favorite players. He is that prototypical guy that you’d love to have on your team, but you hate to play against. But, he played for Florida, so, whatever…
Now an NBA star, Noah has flourished into a perennial All-Star type player, and this season is putting up numbers rivaling that of Kareem, Walton, and Russell. As an act of respect and gratitude, the fans of his Chicago Bulls team have taken to chanting “MVP!” when Noah goes to the free throw line. Sounds pretty great, huh? One problem, though: Noah doesn’t like it.
Noah doesn’t like it because it’s not about him. It’s about team. He was quoted on Bulls.com as saying, “…it’s not about MVPs, it’s about rings, and one day I hope that we can get one here. That’s all I want. I don’t care about none of that stuff [MVPs].”
It seems almost easy anymore to be a “me” guy. Guys like that get paid in major sports. Guys like that get long term contracts and huge endorsement deals. What’s great, though, is when the “team” guys get credit. It shows us that we can allow ourselves to buy into a greater good and be successful. It teaches us that the whole is truly greater than the sum of the parts. No man is an island, and I think eventually, even those guys who try to be that island realize that their true potential could have been better reached by being better involved with the group.
I still have no love for the Gators, but Joakim Noah has certainly gained a fan in me.
Have an awesome Tuesday,