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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Non-Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
Champions of the National Basketball Association Golden State Warriors defy the odds when it comes to having superstars place the team above individuals.
And Ayn Rand(ism) died.

Submitted: June 23, 2017

A A A | A A A

Submitted: June 23, 2017





An Essay

Nicholas Cochran


On Monday night, June 12,2017, the Golden State Warriors won the NBA Championship and Ayn Rand died.

Selflessness slew selfishness; teamwork killed greed; sacrifice exterminated narcissism; partnership trumped egoism; self-confidence defeated conceit. 

And Ayn Rand died.

The Golden State Warriors have done more to arrest the tidal wave of meism crashing over America than a hundred articles by Gore Vidal or Jimmy Carter. Robert Reich can relax. No worries. The Dubs have it covered. Harden and Westbrook have been undone. Teams matter. Teamwork can work, even when comprised of individuals ranked by their peers as the best in the game. 

The Warriors possess two of the top three players in the league and four of the top nineteen.

“And so what is it that these guys do that is so special?” SanFrancisco Chronicle, June 14, 2017.

“Players –All-Stars—willingly, even gladly, diminishing their own roles for the chemistry of the team, a chemistry that is not only rare (perhaps in this case, unique) in the NBA but everywhere in sports,; in politics; in life; worldwide. It is new to the NBA and still not accepted by almost all of the teams in the NBA. But it works.”

“It’s really just sacrificing to make sure everyone else is eating.”  Andre Iguodala, San Francisco Chronicle, June, 2017.

“Iguodala is as much a symbol of the Warriors’ willingness to sacrifice as anyone on the team.” SF Chron, June, 2017 .

Willingness, sacrifice, team; words of progress, of determination; words of togetherness—teamwork.

 “Great teams are defined by an extra-pass mentality and a complete absence of ego.” (Bruce Jenkins, SF Chron, June 15 , 2017)

“There’s not much clashing with player types, and that’s rare to see. Usually, you have a few guys who need the ball a lot . . . it’s hard to share the wealth, but the way this team is set up, it’s easy to do that.” Andre Iguodala, SF Chron, June 15, 2017.

“The stuff you hear about Steph (Curry) sacrificing and being selfless and caring about his teammates, it’s not fake. It’s not a façade. He really is like that, and it’s amazing to see a superstar who doesn’t care about nothing but the group.” Kevin Durant, SF Chron, June 15, 2017.

“Super Team? No, we just work extremely well together.” 

Kevin Durant, SF Chron, June, 2017.

One of my best friends rose to the highest levels in the Ayn Rand Institute. He knows nothing about basketball. Were I to try and discuss the Warrior’s unique brand of play with him and the significance of their achievement—to say nothing of the manner in which they attained their ultimate goal—he would be baffled on both fronts; the reality front and the philosophical front.

In high school and college, he practiced individual sports, no team sports. In life, he had no associates or partners. He and his wife divorced.  He never ran a business or an enterprise consisting of two or more people. He never tasted the unique nectar of a team—even an unsuccessful team. 

I only met two of his friends from the Institute. They too have never been team-oriented, perhaps choosing to try and emulate the ‘rugged individualism’ of the characters inhabiting the literature of the cult’s leader.

Nevertheless, there are, undoubtedly, several followers of the guru who have been involved with groups, associations and  teams at one time in their lives. I wonder how they read, digest, and internalize all the print and video about the unique chemistry of the Warriors?

I’m sure that there are some of those besotted with Ms. Rand who argue that what her words REALLY mean is that the individuals on the Warriors perceived a benefit for themselves or to themselves in the long run by acting in a way so many of her followers would believe to be antithetical to the most basic principles of her philosophy. 

Maybe. And maybe, after a few twists, readjustments, and recalibrations, the selfless spirit of the individuals who make up this unique team, could be representing, in the overall, the ultimate in greed, because the end result of their achievement: capturing the championship, is for them as individuals, an accomplishment that then allows them to benefit from that greed by personal appearances, endorsements, new larger contracts—all the benefits accruing to a  person otherwise working as one to insure their individual elevation in the eyes of their family, their friends, and their banker.

But no. I believe the maven of self-absorption would pronounce such machinations as practiced piffle.

She wouldn’t put it quite this way, but she would be thinking: 

‘These guys are nuts and self destructive by not pursuing their own agenda.’  


The game of basketball is what game theorists call a ‘prisoner’s dilemma’ game, where strategy based on self-interest leads to bad outcomes for all. Arms races, street crime, and environmental degradation are examples of outcomes from such games.

Only by somehow deferring self-interest, do all the players prosper. Despite the lure of larger contracts, more endorsements, and increased security, the Warriors, to an extent rarely seen in professional basketball, have become renowned for their selfless play. They regularly set records for assists. They have consistently shown that cooperation trumps a zero-sum approach. 

The country and the world can learn from them. Just watch them. You’ll be amazed. 

And Ayn Rand is dead.

© Copyright 2018 Nicholas Cochran. All rights reserved.

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