Sports Illustrated’s profile of Celtics coach Brad Stevens is fantastic for many reasons, particularly the portions about his complex defensive schemes and in-game offensive adjustments, but one cosmic detail stands above all others: Bill Russell‘s team-first philosophy had a profound effect on Stevens.
In Stevens’s first year at Butler, then assistant and future coach Todd Lickliter would introduce Stevens to Bill Russell’s book Russell Rules: 11 Lessons on Leadership from the Twentieth Century’s Greatest Winner. In it Russell sets forth the concept of “team ego,” writing, “I was the most egotistical player they would ever meet. My ego is not a personal ego, it’s a team ego. My ego demands — for myself — the success of my team.”
Stevens says, “You have a choice to make when you’re not playing: Either you’re invested and a great teammate, or you’re not. There were times, early on, where I wasn’t a great teammate. It’s a difficult concept, learning the we over me attitude. I’m glad I got to that point, because it really helped me as a coach.”
Good stuff from Sports Illustrated. Be sure to read the article in its entirety here.