The Ant Farm Of The NBA


Winning teams are born from winning cultures. It starts at the very top with ownership and executive management and goes all the way down to the unpaid interns. This is true even in the NBA, where everyone knows their role and, executes and repeats.

It’s like watching an ant farm. We all had an ant farm at some point in our childhood. You leave them alone for just one night and in the next morning you can already start to see their tunnels and passages. Each ant has a role, a purpose. It’s a beautiful thing.

Successful organizations in the NBA are like ant farms, working hard, and then working even harder. Over the past 15 years, no other franchise has displayed this type of focus, dedication and execution like the San Antonio Spurs. Now, I am far from a Spurs fan, but I have to admit, the Spurs have a system. They trust the system. And the system rewards them back.

From Within – Ants are a close knit bunch. They need each other, but they don’t need outsiders. They produce enough workers from within that there is no need to recruit or depend elsehwere. If you take a look at the Spurs, the key players on their rosters were all brought into the NBA by their own organization – Duncan, Parker and Ginobili. Their scouting and drafting is spot on. They consistently draft players that develop and want to stay close to home – Leonard and Blair.

The Queen Ant – The queens are far from royalty in any ant colony. In fact, they are the master servants. If needs be, their life can be sacrificed for the survival of the colony. For that very reason, Greg Popovich is one of the most respected and admired coaches in the league. An Air Force Academy graduate, “Pop” runs a tight ship, and he expects all hands on deck, all the time.


Worker Ants – It takes thousands and thousands of ants to run a colony. Each ant has a role. Some are scouts. Others are workers. Ant colonies are some of the most sophistated societies on earth. Likewise, the Spurs seem to execute their business with the same level of exactness and precision required to be one of the top teams in the NBA. That includes coaches, players, training staff, office staff, medical, management, ownership, balls boys and interns. Each person in the organization has a role. Creating expectation and stoking motivation is a very fine balance, and the Spurs have found it.

There are other well-run organizations in the league, but few have the hardware to show for it. The Spurs have four league championships in recent years and are not far from it in the remaining years. Basketball fans understand one thing about the Spurs: don’t underestimate them in the playoffs and don’t mess with the colony.


What are some of the best ‘Ant Farm’ teams elite sport has ever seen?

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This article was written in-conjunction with Steve Bitter, who is a Marketing Manager with Bulwark Exterminating, based in Mesa, AZ. Bulwark Exterminating is an industry leader in providing high quality pest control service. Bulwark is fully operational in seven states, including eleven major cities. While Bulwark provides pest extermination for common insects such as ants, roaches, crickets and spiders, the company’s differentiating specialty is scorpion control. Bulwark uses the finest and most effective products in the world to solve common pest problems.

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