Hobbes and Athletes

While reading Thomas Hobbes, I become very angry at his view on human society. In his book The Leviathan, Hobbes states that humans are inherently selfish individuals that are only focused on doing what is best for

Thomas Hobbes
Thomas Hobbes

them rather than others. I completely disagree with these statements, as many humans can be good-hearted individuals who are able to put aside their ego and self-interest for the good of the many.

 Over my high school basketball career, I had the privilege of playing alongside many different types of players: scorers, defenders and passers. In 12th grade, I played the wing alongside a ‘ball hog’, who felt he needed to score the most points every game. This one player was holding us back from truly competing for a championship. According to Hobbes, this player is inherently selfish. At first glance this may be true, but as humans we have the ability to adapt. Over the course of the season, our coach began to crack down on him, working with him to make smarter and better shots. He began to realize that his actions were harmful to the success of the team as a whole. By the end of the year, the so-called ‘ball hog’ erased his own moniker and began to be a team player. The selfish kid put all his selfish ways to the side and positively contributed to the whole. I view this drastic change as an individual putting the many above all. As individuals, we have the opportunity to change and act in a way that is beneficial to others.

Furthermore, Hobbes states that individuals are inherently selfish. In class, we have discussed the shift of sports and the NBA specifically to a more business-oriented association. Many athletes are only looking to get paid, leaving behind the fun aspect of playing basketball for a living. They have become selfish in their pursuit of big contracts. True, there are some players who are selfish and are in it for the money, but there are others who truly play for the fun of competing for a championship. This past summer, the Dallas Mavericks had plans to sign many free agents to add to their roster. Chandler Parsons, a hot commodity, was seeking about 15 million dollars per year from a team. The Mavs were short on cash, so their future hall of fame power forward decided to take a pay cut so the Mavs could sign Parsons. First off, Dirk did not have such a massive contract, in which he could

The unselfish Dirk Nowitzki restructures his contract to help sign Chandler Parsons.
The unselfish Dirk Nowitzki restructures his contract to help sign Chandler Parsons.

have received from any other team in the league. He took less money so the Mavs could sign a championship piece in Parsons. A selfish player would not give up his own guaranteed money (and I’m talking millions of dollars) to help improve the team. While there may be selfish acts by some, it is unjust and wrong to generalize all humans as inherently selfish.

In addition, the prime example of unselfishness is the San Antonio Spurs big three, Manu Ginobili, Tony Parker and Tim Duncan. These three future hall of famers have given up millions of dollars to be able to play with each other and contend for championship after championship. At any time, one of the three could have went to another team and made more money, ‘satisfying their selfish desires’. Instead, they looked past the money, focusing on the team and not the individual. On any given night, Tim Duncan could score between 0-25 points with ease. He was indifferent with the amount of points he scored, rather focused on what he had to do that night to help the team succeed. The same goes for Tony and Manu, and this unselfish mentality has led them to 5 NBA Championships. In the world, there will always be those that are selfish and self-centered; but it is incorrect to state that all of mankind is inherently egocentric.

One thought on “Hobbes and Athletes

  1. I agree with you that not all players are selfish. While there are some players that are only worried about themselves, there are a significant amount of players that truly care about the team. One point that you bring up in your article truly stands out to me. It is very true that selfish players have the ability to change and become a team player. Players cannot simply be determined selfish until they have become aware of the issue and try to fix it. Once a player tries to fix his selfishness, then you can truly see if a player is selfish. Everyone has the ability to learn from their mistakes as a selfish player and become a team player.


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