A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from January 05, 2015
“With a few exceptions, the best players are also the hardest workers”

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.

Google Books
My Life
By Earvin Johnson
New York, NY: Fawcett Books
1992
Pg. 186:
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.

Google Books
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.
1993
Pg. 26:
“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.

Google Books
Mind Gym:
An Athlete’s Guide to Inner Excellence

By Gary Mack and David Casstevens
New York, NY: McGraw Hill Professional
2001
Pg. 65:
Talent is never enough. With few exceptions the best players are the hardest workers. — MAGIC JOHNSON

Google Books
Our Time:
A High School Baseball Coach’s Journey

By Scott Illiano
Bloomington, IN: iUniverse
2011
Pg. 76:
It has been said that a key to a great team may be when your best players are also your hardest workers.

Twitter
Patrick Bet-David
‏@patrickbetdavid
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. 

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CitySports/Games • Monday, January 05, 2015 • Permalink