What is success?
Is it a single moment of energy and passion? Some blinding second that sears your understanding of life? Or is success something much more subtle? A job well done for a sustained period of time?
I've been coming to grips with the fact that the Golden State Warriors are the champions of the NBA. Coming to grips with the fact that they seem poised to compete at a high level for a long time. There will be no Oklahoma City type fuck ups. They're not trading away Draymond Green (a la James Harden) because they are afraid to pay the luxury tax.
So, faced with this new reality, I've been thinking about success. Because once you've attained something, once you've climbed the mountain, what will you do to repeat? How will you maintain that underdog mentality?
Marc J. Spears had a very interesting article about Draymond, about his free angency, and about how he has been soaking up post-finals life.
Since the Warriors defeated the Cleveland Cavaliers for an NBA title, Green has been enjoying the fruits of being a champion. He walked the red carpet before attending the premiere of the movie "Ted 2" in New York last week. He had a chic party in his honor in San Francisco. He got down from his float to shake hands with Warriors fans during the championship parade in Oakland. And there was the parade and rally in Saginaw that also was capped with a party, this one bringing him to tears.
"Everything has been amazing and life-changing," Green said. "You still don't even know at this point how it's actually changed your life."
Everything has been amazing and life-changing. You still don't even know at this point how it's actually changed your life.
How will life change for these young men? Will they be infected by the "Disease of More?" Or will they step away from this moment, bask in the after-glow of their accomplishments, and come back next year hungry and ready?
Success is often the harbinger of disaster. Life is long and complicated. You can't always ride on the championship float, no matter what you've accomplished. At some point, it's time to lace 'em back up and go back to work.
If there is a group built to withstand the pressures of success, I believe it is this team.
Stephen Curry is the leader. He is a deeply religious man. As he acts, so does the team. It is easy to say "Love thy neighbor." It's easy to pretend to be honest and open. It is another matter to apply those principles to your everyday life. To actually care deeply about those around you. To want to uplift them through your own actions.
You get the sense that these guys legitimately like hanging out with each other. On road trips, they famously make a point to eat together. Chemistry can't be faked. But how much of that team-bonding was responsible for this championship run? Will that chemistry withstand the test of time? Will their shared success bind them closer to one another as they move forward in life, or will it serve to drive them apart?
Kobe Bryant recently said, "Friends come and go, but banners hang forever."
Can you have it both? Do you have to be manically driven to succeed in this world? Or, as Steph and the gang are proving, can you succeed while also being kind? While uplifting your environs through positivity and encouragement?
It's a strange world we all inhabit. The Warriors are paving their own way through it. I have a feeling that we'll look back on this season as the beginning of some epic story. The beginning of a new era in professional sports, where kindness and compassion are considered signs of strength.
"I'll see Steph, you know, twenty thirty years from now... And this bond is forever, you know?" - @ShaunLivingston— Bram Kincheloe (@BramKincheloe) June 19, 2015