His search extended to the 1880s, unearthing 122 finalists, but using eight criteria he whittled that down to 16 in the top tier, including the Collingwood Magpies from 1920s Australian rules football; the New York Yankees from 1949-53; the Hungarian men’s soccer team of the early 1950s; the Montreal Canadiens of the late 1950s; the San Antonio Spurs from 1997-2016; and two editions of New Zealand’s famed All Black rugby squad.
Didier Deschamps, of Italy’s Juventus, was once sneered at, called a mere water carrier, but he accepted the moniker gracefully. The best captains were understated, comrades serving their team, playing subordinate roles on the field and feeding the ball to others.
Michael Jordan’s Bulls didn’t make the list, perhaps because his focus tended to be on himself; he would sometimes not pass the ball to teammates he disliked.
We assume sports leaders give fiery speeches, but that certainly wasn’t Yogi Berra’s forte – he wasn’t an orator – nor was it for other top captains. They talked one-on-one, cajoling and sympathizing – “boxing ears and wiping noses,” as the author puts it. At timeouts, the Spurs’ Tim Duncan would seek out one or two teammates and talk with them, often wagging a finger.
Sept. 4, 2017 The Ladder: Trevor Georgie: Today I found this article in the Globe and Mail: