By Ken Reed
Anyone who’s played a team sport — basketball, baseball, football, hockey, soccer, etc. — knows that teamwork and putting the needs of the group above individual wants and desires, is a primary key to the ultimate success of the team.
The fact is, it’s a primary key to the success of a society too.
Historically, the United States has achieved its greatest advancements and achievements when a high percentage of citizens — and its leaders — are committed to work together for the common good. To say the least, that’s not the case today in our divided country.
I was doing some reading recently and came across a terrific quote from Bill Bradley, a Rhodes scholar, NBA champion and long-time U.S. senator. It was from his book “Life on the Run.” Bradley was well-known as the consummate teammate on the championship New York Knick teams of the ’70’s. He was also well-known as a senator who held bipartisanship as an important value during his time in Congress.
Here’s what he wrote. All sports teams — and the country as a whole — should heed this wisdom.
I believe that basketball, when a certain level of unselfish team play is realized, can serve as kind of a metaphor for ultimate cooperation. It is a sport where success, as symbolized by the championship, requires that the dictates of community prevail over selfish personal impulses.
A team championship exposes the limits of self-reliance, selfishness, and irresponsibility. One man alone can’t make it happen; in fact, the contrary is true: a single man can prevent it from happening.
The success of the group assures the success of the individual, but not the other way around.
—Bill Bradley, starter on two NBA champion New York Knick teams and three-term U.S. Senator, 1979-1997
Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans
Sports Forum Podcast
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Ken Reed appears on Mornings with Gail from KFKA Radio in Colorado to discuss bad parenting in youth athletics.
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Ken Reed appears on the Ralph Nader Radio Hour (at 38:35) to discuss his book The Sports Reformers: Working to Make the World of Sports a Better Place, and to talk about some current sports issues.
- League of Fans Sports Policy Director Ken Reed quoted in Washington Post column titled "What happened to P.E.? It’s losing ground in our push for academic improvement," by Jay Mathews
League of Fans is a sports reform project founded by Ralph Nader to fight for the higher principles of justice, fair play, equal opportunity and civil rights in sports; and to encourage safety and civic responsibility in sports industry and culture.
Sports & Torts – Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans – at the American Museum of Tort Law
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