Taoist Philosophy and Basketball



Philosophy and Basketball


The Golden State Warriors are the number one team in the NBA. There is good reason they are number one. The team has great players with skills of champions and in great physical shape.  The coaches and the fans are the best. They have what it takes to be at the top of the NBA


There are intangibles that make them winners. Although they are not aware of it and not trying to be Taoist It seems to me that they are living with a Taoist philosophy. Living in a Taoist way without trying to be in the Tao is the ultimate Tao. Tao is also called the path or the way.  The Warriors are on the path created in 600 BC by Lau Yzu writings the Tao Te Ching.  This little book of 81 verses is filled with
thoughts about a way to a better life and success.  One of the factors in the success of the Golden State Warriors is that they are on the path, 


One of the key teachings of Taoism is being in harmony. The Warriors show their harmony all the time.  We are told that the players get along well in the locker room; we see it in the play on the floor and in cell phone videos of them singing on flights between cities for games.  The harmony is evident when the team is warming
up or together when they are in a huddle with the coach. They are enjoying each other’s company and enjoy playing the game.


 Taoism is also about oneness and we certainly see the Warriors playing as one on the floor. They have one goal. They are not playing for individual glory but to win as a team.  We see this by watching players pass up personal glory ant throw ball to the person who has the best chance of making the basket. How much do they assist other players in making baskets?  This team has more assists than any other team in the NBA. 


This team plays as one in this fast paced game.  Players know where
their teammates are and throw them the ball even without looking.  Players appear to know the minds of teammates when their fellow players are in the right place at the right time.  This is playing with one mind. 

Least Effort

The team spends many hours practicing and keeping is shape.  Sometimes in game they will start by struggling with things like letting the other teams get easy shots, missing easy scores and throwing away the ball.  At these times they are fall behind.  Suddenly they begin to play with grace, with
scoring and making rebounds that appear easy and the team starts winning.  It appears they are in their natural state. Reporters ask after the game why the change in play the coach and players will say “we settled down and started to play our game.

This is least effort when just going with the flow and nothing is left



Lao Tzu wrote that being boastful is not being in the Tao. (In harmony with the universe). These players do not appear to be boastful. and you hear them in the after game interviews as they do not talk about being number one they did talk about how the team needs to improve and keep playing each  game by game. When the reporters ask about a winning streak the players normally answers saying that the season has a long way to go and the team needs to keep improving. There are times when a reporter will ask about a particular play during the game and many times the player being interviewed will credit other
members of the team for helping him make the play. This is the way of the Tao

 A person is in the heavenly Tao when they are there are their authentic self. We do not know much about most of the players. Two players that get most of the publicity Steph Curry and clay Thompson appear to be their authentic self.

Heavenly Tao

Steph is authentic in that he shows off his skills on the basketball court he lets people know quietly of his abilities.  He does not push his greatness on others. When I watch all his actions it is clear he does not think of himself as better than other people. When giving out Christmas packages of food he pays for the food and stays the entire time and works with the volunteers. He was not just a face for a photo op. No one sees him put up mosquito nets in Africa. He gave away more money to charity than any other NBA player last season.  we certainly didn’t see a lot of publicity about each of those contributions. Seth Curry is his true self when it comes to his faith, he has a tattoo on his wrist in Hebrew says “love never fails” which is from the New Testament.  He knows the meaning but he does not push his faith on others. Nor does he push his faith on other with the “Curry One” shoe.  He has on the shoe part of a bible verse that says “I can do all things”.  He is true to his faith, but does not advertise what is his faith.  These are all signs of being his true self or being his authentic self.


Klay Thompson is passionate about basketball. He practices long hours and it is always improving. A reporter asked him about making 40 points in one game. His response was “I just like shooting and making baskets” very simple answer.  He went with the flow by signing a new contract with the Golden State Warriors for 70 million dollars although he may be worth more elsewhere. After signing the papers for this new contract his first desire was to go home and be with his dog Rocko. We see pictures of them walking in the park or in nature. It sounds to me like this person is his authentic self.


Many people think of a sage as being a hermit or they think of Taoist as not striving for success but here are you seeing how living in Taoist principles contributes to success.






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