Yo Gtta Lve It!!!

IN Sports and in LIfe ... The Triangle of SuccessIn sport .... or in life ...
Open letter to San Francisco Chronicle/Examiner
You may not want to hear ... BUT ... now's your chance Bay Area ... America ... the World if you will. To learn a lesson, as simple as it is.

The recent incident with Latrell Sprewell is not hard to describe. That may take some saying, for someone as distant from the actual "facts" of the situation, as myself, but, let's see how I do.

I publish ... on the World Wide Web ... a thing called The Triangle of Success.

It may not be as well written as I'd like, it may not be complete, but, it's improving every day, and, if you reprint it in your newspaper, it will get a response, a good deal of which, is going to be ... Right On !!!

I believe I could describe the situation to you ... as distant as I am ... because it is not unlike situations I have experienced, and most of us have experienced, every day.

For some reason, America, this is the only place I really know, has gotten the notion, long held, that the definition of a "manager" .... a "coach" ... a "boss" .... a "teacher" ... is something a great deal different than a "servant" ... a "mentor" .... an "enhancer." This doesn't have anything to do with color by the way .... the way we treat people is unfortunately not restricted to race.

It is possible that some people might not respond well, to the kind of treatment I'm going to describe .... I"m not sure enough have had the chance .... but ... The Triangle of Success, at achieving anything, suggests that the best path to positive results, is to accentuate the things done right .... and the negatives will fall away. It's a law ... it says ... like gravity.

This works extremely well, in sports, as a matter of fact. If you can do a good job with your right hand, you can develop your left. If you can jump, you can twist. It's a progressive thing. One positive step after another. The Triangle of Success would suggest that that is the best way to achieve other things. Relationships, businesses, community activities ... anything that a human can learn to do well.

So ... what happened with Latrell Sprewell.

The reports said, he arrived at work ( he later described ... not as happy as he wanted to be to be there ), began to do ... what he was instructed to do ..... and was criticized. No big deal you say. Being criticized every day. Being constantly told, not what you are doing right that will eventually lead to your success, but what you're doing wrong .... all the time. You may be able to dunk ... but your shoes untied.

I don't want to hear it today he said.

In other words, I'm already unhappy enough. I don't need any more negatives ... from you or from anybody.

Normal you say. It's happened to you. So sad.

Suppose Mr. P.J. Carlisimo, and Mr. Gary St. Jean,. and whomever else it was that ran the organization, and coached the team, had thought .... in their long acquired wisdom, that the best way to achieve results with anybody ... a basketball team, a business, a school child, was to do a good job at figuring out what they were good at .... complimenting and accentuating that aspect of their game, their performance, their being ... figuring out what they could ... ADD ... to those positives ... to improve their game ... and their overall performance. And suppose Mr. Sprewell did the same?

Do you suppose it would have been more fun to come to work ? Is it possible .... that not even $700,000 a month .... that's a lot of money .... not even $700,000 a month ... was enough to pay for "some guy" who couldn't put a basketball through a hoop if he tried .... constantly criticizing and complaining about the way you played the game?

Does that mean that what Latrell did was 'excusable?' Nope. You're not even allowed to kill an a------. What America needs, and perhaps this incident could help achieve, is to develop a new definition of what it means to be a manager, and it isn't about money, and it isn't about race. What it means to be a coach .... what it means to be a decent human being with responsibility over anybody.

Your job is to take the Warriors .... as sad as they are right now .... and encourage every one of them to do the very best that they can. Spend the rest of the season telling Donyell Marshall, Joe Smith, Mugsy Boggs, and every other player ... what they're doing right. Don't worry about .... we know you can't always do this ... or that .... big deal. I doubt that Mugsy Boggs can beat Shaq O'Neill. Let's concentrate on what you can do and see if we can improve.

Never tried this before ??? You're not alone !!! There's an awful lot of managers, and school teachers, and politicians, and celebrities, and husbands and wives and little kids who have never seen it tried before either. They've spent a large part of their life, telling or being told what to do ... with an emphasis on what they don't do instead of what they do. Maybe you've been one of them. How do you do that ? See what they do right and compliment them on it? How's that gonna work ?

The Triangle of Success says it works real well. I believe another gentleman, Mr. John Wooden, used to coach for UCLA. He called it the Pyramid of Success; emphasized the many aspects of being a good human being, including basketball. Concentrated on increasing ones ability to improve. Concentrated on things done right. I think he won 12 championships .... I think his players enjoyed coming to the gym ... because they were going to be "reinforced" for what they had done, and they were going to learn something new in the process.

Input .... Latrell Sprewell said that he, and other players, had no input. How you going to get a job done well, if the people doing it don't have any input? I guess Michael Jordan doesn't have any input when it comes to running the Chicago Bulls?

Without input you don't have the ability to adjust to their strengths ... and their weaknesses. If I can't dunk ... then I guess I'll have to learn how to shoot .... If I can't get inside ... then I guess I'll have to get real good ... outside .... while I'm working on a way to get in there ... if I try.

It's really sad ... but you now have an EXCELLENT OPPORTUNITY TO TRY. Right now you are dangerously close to being the worst team in NBA history .... record wise. You keep going on the track your on ... and you're not going to beat anybody in the NBA.

You need a lot of help ... or certainly it would seem. It would appear ... it may even be physically impossible for you to get any better. Time for a miracle ... I would say.

There is still a chance you can earn yourself something. What can you concentrate on ... in the next couple of weeks .... that will give you a chance against people with obviously superior talent. Is it hustle ... is it guts .... is it defense .... is it intelligence .... here's one you might try.

Ever since ..... we've become a team, that really enjoys coming to work.

And here's your chance too, Bay Area. Want to be a fan of someone. Try staying and being a Warrior fan. These guys aren't going to be doing real good this year. They're not going to win the championship ...a lot of them ... sad to say ... don't want to be here. Wonder why?

What can we do to make it better? What is it that these guys, can still do right? Take your time, think about it. We've got all year.

And your response ...

So .... how did they do that ?

  • 12/10/97
  • Golden State Warriors 93 Los Angeles Lakers 92

Can'tWait 'Til This Year

Some of Rick's Comments
Rick Barry

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