My religion is very simple. My religion is kindness.
- Dalai Lama
Call me a bandwagoner, but I’m a Warriors basketball fan. It all started in February of 2016 when I was visiting my sister’s house in Nashville. I was flipping channels on their TV and found the Warriors playing Oklahoma City. I watched in awe as Stephen Curry, the star point guard for the Warriors, dropped 46 points that game. He drained a record 12 three pointers and made it look so easy the whole time. The pure joy he showed and the fun he had on the court was contagious, and from that moment on I was hooked.
The Warrior’s coach, Steve Kerr has this to say about Stephen Curry, “As great of a player as he is, he is equally as impressive as a human being… I love the fact that Steph is aware of his impact and utilizes it for nothing but the good of the people.”[i] Recently when a nine year old girl wrote a letter to Curry and pointed out that his line of tennis shoes doesn’t come in girls sizes, he immediately fixed the issue with his company, Under Amour, and used the opportunity to empower a young girls dreams and aspirations and create a moment of kindness. Here’s a link to the article on ABC news:
The Warriors basketball team seemed to have a genuine culture of kindness that impressed me. When Kevin Durant joined the team a few years ago I loved his skill on the court and his character off the court. Durant grew up dirt poor in Maryland and now he has a foundation and spends millions of dollars to run a community center in his hometown with programs to: “enrich the lives of at-risk youth from low-income backgrounds through educational, athletic and social programs.” If you are interested, here’s a link to his foundation.
Then there’s Draymond Green who never seemed to fit with the Warrior’s culture of kindness. I guess there’s one in every crowd, but I used to think, “He’s a great player, but what a jerk.” Every game, you would see him having a tantrum on the court, yelling at the referees whenever a call didn’t go his way, or taunting and talking some serious smack to the opposing team’s players. Many games he would have a melt down and get technical fouls for his temper, costing his team precious points at critical times of the game.
Last fall, he had an argument during a game on national TV with his teammate Kevin Durant, and his coach has been overheard complaining about Green’s temper. The consequences for his emotional problems have been piling up, and by his own admission, Green has begun to self-reflect on his character defects and has begun to take action to make positive changes in his life. Green said about Kevin Durant confronting him, “It’s funny because when the stuff happened with Kevin earlier this year. He said, like, ‘Everybody is giving you this pass like, Oh, that’s just Draymond. He’s emotional,” Green said, but (Durant) said to me then, like, ‘You’re not emotional. I’ve seen you lock in and not say a word to the referees. I’m not giving you that pass.’ That kind of stuck with me.” [ii]
Recently Green confessed he has been confronted on his anger and immaturity by his mom and grandma and by his fiancée. After a recent game Green admitted to his issues and said, “I realized I got to a point where I was doing more crying than playing. I’m sure it was disgusting to watch because I felt disgusting playing that way.” He also realized that his example to his children was important when he said in the same interview, “I also have some little ones at home that enjoying watching me play. I don’t necessarily want them to see that.”[iii]
He’s also walking the walk, not just talking the talk. As I watched the recent playoff series where the Warriors took out the Portland Trailblazers in four straight games, Draymond Green was a different person. There was no more talking crap to the other players and no more temper tantrums. He just channeled all that energy into his game and played at a whole new level. That is a good example of self-reflection and personal growth that makes a difference not only for his children and his family and friends and his team, but also for all the fans around the nation and the world who watch the game and look up to him for his ability on the court. Good for you, Draymond, look at you go.
Kindness is important; that’s a bandwagon worth jumping on. Whether you are on national TV, or whether you are simply in your community with family and friends; your actions and your attitude matter. It makes a difference if you let the other driver go first at the stop sign, or if you show kindness at home, at work or in the grocery store to loved ones or strangers. It’s not just about whether or not you reach your goals, but how you get there that matters.
Kindness is not just some altruistic ideal that has no practical value. The kind of synergy you see when the Warriors play basketball only happens when you trust your teammates and have that bond of love and respect with each other. Kindness is the oil that makes the whole engine run smoothly. Whether your team is your family, your company, your business, your school, your community, the nation, or the whole human race, kindness makes that synergy and effective teamwork possible to produce positive results that are not possible alone. Your choices make a difference either way, and any effort you make to be more thoughtful and less reactive to dysfunction helps.
A single act of kindness throws out roots in all directions,
and the roots spring up and make new trees.
- Amelia Earhart