Basketball star Earvin “Magic” Johnson wrote in his autobiography, My Life (1992):
“But the fans never see how hard these players work in practice. They didn’t see Larry Bird shooting hundreds of three-pointers. They don’t see Michael Jordan leaping to the hoop and practicing his outside shot again and again. Talent is never enough. With a few exceptions, the best players are also the hardest workers.”
“With a few exceptions, the best players are also the hardest workers” has been frequently quoted. There is also a sports adage that says a coach hopes that his or her best players are also the hardest workers. “Constantine embraces the Fred Shero axiom that, ‘you win when your best players are your hardest workers’” was cited in print in 1997, referring to hockey coach Fred Shero (1925-1990). It’s not known, however, when Shero adopted the axiom.
Wikipedia: Magic Johnson
Earvin “Magic” Johnson, Jr. (born August 14, 1959) is a retired American professional basketball player who played point guard for the Los Angeles Lakers of the National Basketball Association (NBA) for 13 seasons. After winning championships in high school and college, Johnson was selected first overall in the 1979 NBA Draft by the Lakers. He won a championship and an NBA Finals Most Valuable Player Award in his rookie season, and won four more championships with the Lakers during the 1980s. Johnson retired abruptly in 1991 after announcing that he had contracted HIV, but returned to play in the 1992 All-Star Game, winning the All-Star MVP Award. After protests from his fellow players, he retired again for four years, but returned in 1996, at age 36, to play 32 games for the Lakers before retiring for the third and final time.
By Earvin Johnson
New York, NY: Fawcett Books
But the fans never see how hard these players work in practice. They didn’t see Larry Bird shooting hundreds of three-pointers. They don’t see Michael Jordan leaping to the hoop and practicing his outside shot again and again. Talent is never enough. With a few exceptions, the best players are also the hardest workers.
Those Who Love the Game:
Glenn “Doc” Rivers on Life in the NBA and Elsewhere
By Glenn Rivers
New York, NY: Henry Holt and Company, Inc.
“It’s funny—the best players I have played with and against, as I look back, are the hardest workers. Magic. Bird. Moses. Sidney Moncrief. Patrick Ewing. Those are some hard, hard-working guys. They all have this in common. And they’re all great. It’s not a coincidence, is it?”
Google News Archive
22 September 1997, Pittsburgh (PA) Post-Gazette, “Watching, waiting” by Dave Molinari, pg. D-10, col. 4:
Constantine embraces the Fred Shero axiom that, “you win when your best players are your hardest workers” and again pointed to Detroit captain Steve Yzerman, who had no qualms about giving up his body during the Red Wings’ 4-1 victory against the Penguins last Wednesday.
An Athlete’s Guide to Inner Excellence
By Gary Mack and David Casstevens
New York, NY: McGraw Hill Professional
Talent is never enough. With few exceptions the best players are the hardest workers. — MAGIC JOHNSON
A High School Baseball Coach’s Journey
By Scott Illiano
Bloomington, IN: iUniverse
It has been said that a key to a great team may be when your best players are also your hardest workers.
When your best players are your hardest workers, it’s an outstanding thing. Jim Harbaugh
3:16 AM - 4 Jan 2015
The News-Sentinel (Fort Wayne, IN)
When stars don’t shine, IPFW loses
By Tom Davis of The News-Sentinel
Monday, January 5, 2015 - 2:19 am
The old adage in sports is that it is a coach’s dream when his best players are also his hardest workers.