The Penalty Of Leadership: Why The Team's Failure Is ALWAYS Your Fault…

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I have a friend who’s a big fan of an NBA player named Trae Young. 

In a group text, this friend tried HARD to argue that Trae is one of the Top 10 players in the NBA. 

Trae is not good on defense (which is half of the game in basketball), but Trae is a great scorer — and most basketball fans don’t care about boring-ass defense, anyway. 

Thus, Trae has a growing fan club. 

He’s averaging just under 30 points per game (Michael Jordan career average: 30.1ppg) and nearly 9 assists. Trae Young is pretty good. 

The NBA All-Star game is in mid-February. 24 players, presumably the 24 best NBA players, make the All-Star game. Trae is a prime candidate for fierce debate this year — not because his statistical profile is in question, but because Trae’s Atlanta Hawks team sucks

Halfway through the 82-game season, the Hawks have the fewest wins of any NBA squad. They’re the worst team in the league. Historically, players from losing teams don’t get “rewarded” with All-Star berths. 

Trae’s stats are so good, though, and the rest of his team so bad (the Hawks have several rookies playing a lot of minutes, and Trae’s best teammate missed 25 games to suspension), that Trae’s fan club will tout the tried-and-true not-his-fault!! argument to defend his Star status. 

Most NBA rookies aren’t very good in their first season. It takes time to adjust to the speed and physicality of the game, and to playing against other players who are already used to it. 

The Hawks have multiple rookies in their starting lineup. 

The Hawks don’t have any good veteran players. All of their best players have three or fewer years of NBA service under their belts. Young teams (no pun intended) rarely win much in the NBA. The Hawks are expected to be bad. 

So, is it Trae Young’s “fault” that his team is losing?

Yes. 

Not because Trae chose the roster — he didn’t.  

Trae is not the one who got himself suspended for 25 games for using illegal substances. 

I never heard Trae announce a plan for the Hawks to be bad on purpose. 

None of those are his doing. So how do I contend that it’s his fault? 

Because he’s the Hawks’ best player. He’s the guy on top. He’s the leader. 

So everything is his fault, by default

That’s how it works. 

Because he’s the Hawks’ best player. He’s the guy on top. He’s the leader. So everything is his fault, by default. That’s how it works.  Click To Tweet

***

It’s called The Penalty Of Leadership. 

When you’re the person on top, you get the recognition, the rewards, the glory, when things work out. Everyone knows your name. You’re a star. 

At the same time, every mistake falls back on you. You’re the one who gets the blame when it doesn’t work. 

When you’re the person on top, you get the recognition, the rewards, the glory, when things work out. Everyone knows your name. You’re a star. At the same time, every mistake falls back on you. You’re the one who gets the blame when it… Click To Tweet

When you’re playing a team game and the team sucks, someone has to be the face of that sucky team and the main one responsible for it — YOU. 

That’s the other side of the “star” coin. 

If you want to have a big, beautiful lawn, you have to pay for the landscapers. If you can’t afford to keep the grass cut, don’t buy the house. 

If you want to have a big, beautiful lawn, you have to pay for the landscapers. If you can’t afford to keep the grass cut, don’t buy the house.  Click To Tweet

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