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How to: Be a Good Teammate


Becoming a player that everyone wants to play with


Across the NBA, certain players have developed reputations as ideal teammates, from superstars such as LeBron James to role players like James Jones. The two partners have famously experienced success together on different teams, with James gushing over Jones, calling him his greatest teammate and favorite player of all time. James is no slouch in the ‘dream teammate’ category either, with many stars having expressed the desire to play on the same team as him. Just what makes these teammates so special?


Know your role: As the great Scottie Pippen once said, “Sometimes a player's greatest challenge is coming to grips with his role on the team.” Too many players want to be the star, but not everyone is equally blessed. The beauty of team basketball is in fitting different characters and strengths together, so that the sum is greater than the whole of its parts. Jones was a great shooter and never tried to do too much, leaving the limelight to his teammates.


Pass the ball: The best way to make friends in basketball is simply to share the ball. Everyone wants their fair share of touches. By facilitating this, your teammates will enjoy playing with you. This is the source of James’ appeal: despite his otherworldly talents, he enjoys a good pass as much as putting the ball in the basket.


Understanding tendencies: Beyond just putting the rock in your teammates’ hands, you want to be able to put them in a position to succeed. To do this, you have to understand where they operate best on the court and what they do well. By playing to their strengths, everyone will have the chance to shine.


Improving together: There are few experiences in team basketball more satisfying than completing a grueling journey together. When you work hard on your craft and get better as a cohesive unit, you develop trust and an unbreakable bond. Team membership may be transient, but a good teammate is forever.