Get Mine vs Team-First
Introducing Sabrina Scott.
Big things are coming soon in regards to SLAM’s women’s basketball coverage. BIG things. In that spirit, we couldn’t be happier to introduce Sabrina Scott to our writing team. Sabrina originally hails from Lake Oswego, Oregon and played basketball for the University of Colorado. Graduating with a degree in Psychology, Sabrina is currently in her 9th season of playing professional basketball in Europe. Aside from being an all-around cool person, Sabrina is a phenomenal writer and provides a unique perspective to the life of a professional women’s basketball player overseas. Make sure to follow her on Twitter, visit her personal blog, and leave any comments or questions below. – Ben Y.
As a hooper, you learn to balance the ‘get mine’ attitude with the ‘team-first’ attitude early in your career. Then, if you’re fortunate enough, and the game takes you overseas as a professional, the balancing act takes on a whole different meaning. Because at that point, your livelihood is on the line.
Americans, both male and female, have been commuting across the pond for decades to continue their playing careers on foreign soil. Through those years, thousands of players have provided fans, GMs, and coaches in Europe with certain expectations that continue on to this day.
See, Americans playing in Europe have a certain reputation…usually consisting of being a scorer, a shooter, a me-first player, and probably even selfish. It’s no secret that general managers in Europe bring in Americans to bolster their team’s scoring attack, so it should also not come as a surprise that the ‘me-first’ American reputation has developed over time.
On one hand, you have to live up to those expectations. If scoring is what they want, then scoring is what you need to give them. Otherwise, General Managers have no problem finding another American who will happily fill your roster spot (and take your paycheck). Many times, Americans (or foreigners) are at the top of their team’s pay scale. So you can imagine, GMs and fans want to see results on the court. Naturally, that creates pressure on the player to perform.
However, if by trying to live up to those expectations, you become too selfish, shoot too much, or play too much on your own, it’s easy to see how that becomes detrimental to the team. And that’s one thing you can never do: put your own performance ahead of your team’s.
I’ve been in the crowd at men’s games when you start to hear grumbling from fans on those days when a certain American isn’t performing up to par. Or, on the other hand, when he’s seemingly out to only ‘get his’.
It’s then that I wonder what comes out of the mouths of fans at my games. And as much as you try to avoid newspapers, there’s always a time when you find out what that headline or article aimed at you really means.
Over the years, I’ve learned you can’t please everyone. Play to your own expectations, not those bestowed upon you by someone else. Enjoy your time on the court, and of course play hard. Hustle and heart make up for any mistakes that will undoubtedly be made.
Above all, just like it is everywhere in the world, winning trumps everything. So, do your damndest to find that balance. Because regardless of what you do on the court, if your team is on top at the end of 40 minutes, you’re going to be just fine.
Check out Sabrina’s personal blog here.