For the Love of the Game
When Lebron James, Chris Bosch, and Dwayne Wade all joined the Miami Heat – controversy slammed the nation. From the New York Times to ESPN to TMZ, their decision was questioned. As a Miami Heat fan, I’m certainly biased on their decision; but there was an important factor that many of the sports analysts and news casters conveniently forgot to speak about when raining on this decision: These three players had left over $30 million on the table.
When interviewing all three of the players they each said, “I want to be challenged at practices so I’m always getting better” and “I wanted to be on a team where my teammates brought out the best in me” as well as “It was more important to me to be on a winning ‘team’ than it was to get the most money”.
So, while the move was controversial – having 3 Olympians on one time – it was almost analogous to a monopoly; in business and in life, people make decisions like this every time they are looking for a new job. Let’s examine the following: A VP of Marketing is offered two jobs; 1) A CEO position in a mid size company – massive salary, great options, equity, etc. 2) A Director level role with Google – far less money, no equity, and less options. Where does this VP go? He / she takes the job with Google. This is a story that happens everyday.
So how is this different than these three basketball players teaming up? As a ‘business’, Google wants the best and the brightest; they are not overpaying to get this; but because of the opportunity presented by Google, because of the great work environment, the brand, the security, etc. the CEO above chose to be a part of a great team vs. the “superstar” of an average team.
As I’m reviewing different job options, I frequently look back to the “Heat Trio” to remind myself that ‘money isn’t everything’. For those of us with unmatched passion and excitement about what we do, there are other factors that weigh far more than ‘making the most money’ or ‘being the superstar’.
So, while the controversy still abounds over these three players, I believe there are lessons to be learned:
To be a part of a dynasty, you may have to make monetary scarifices
Being a part of history, is more important than a super star
It may best serve you to be a part of a super star team for far less money than be the CEO of your own company