I was at LAX picking up my family from a trip. It was near one of the International gates and a plane from Hong Kong had just landed. I went into the bathroom and was in the process of relieving myself at a urinal when Rick Fox (former Lakers Power Forward, and Actor) took the one to my right and Cuba Gooding Jr (actor) took the one to my left. I made what I thought was a funny comment about now knowing what it felt like to stand between two big …. Mr. Gooding smiled, Mr. Fox offered me a ugly one word retort that I will not repeat in my blog. I hold him no ill will. Long flight I am sure and I would not be the last pesky fan that would try to say something funny to him.
Anyway, the memory of this experience caused me to reflect on what I remember each of these two individuals for. On my left was a bench player for the Lakers, and was a key part of helping that team win three championship rings. I am sure he started his career in a much different intent. A good looking, tall young man, with an amazing talent. Definitely destined for stardom, but here he was – serving a largely supporting role on a championship basketball team. On my right was a rather short, but highly charismatic man with a big infectious smile that was the key reason behind the success of the movie, Jerry Maguire. Tom Cruise was the headliner, but Cuba was the one the audience loved, that and the little boy. He was also in a highly supporting role, and played his part well.
Which really got me to thinking about expectations, and striving for more acknowledgement. Then that lead me to the idea that these two men really were great leaders, in the fact that they set aside their egos to build the tribe. Rick Fox, playing as himself, on the basketball team would never steal the limelight from Kobe or Shaq, but in his quiet way did what he could for the tribe and ultimately it was the tribe that won. Cuba Gooding, playing a star football player wanted to be the greatest but could not ever get his due. However, at the end of the day his commitment to the tribe (his family, his recruiter) is what created his success. Both of these are instances where the individual with great personal merit, feeds the instinct of tribe success.
Something to ponder for sure.