The State is the Lakers
You either hate ‘em or you love ‘em. The Lakers, a NBA team, is known for many things. They’re known for holding records of having the most wins, the highest winning percentage, the most NBA finals appearances, the second most NBA championships, and most impressive of all…the first team since 2002 to win back-to-back championships. Sixteen Hall of Famers played for the Lakers, while four of these sixteen have coached the team. Four Lakers—Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Magic Johnson, Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant—have won the NBA Most Valuable Player (MVP) award for a total of eight MVP awards.
How are they known for so much? What sets them apart from the other NBA teams? It’s all about thinking for the general will.
If anyone watched Game 7 of 2010’s NBA Finals, we all know Kobe Bryant, MVP, was not up to par as he usually is, but he recovered and made up for his mistakes with rebounds. The Celtics led the game by a score of 40–34 at halftime. However, in the end, the Lakers won over the Celtics 83–79. This was due to poor rebounding by the Celtics and them entering the penalty early.
If anyone missed this epic game, here’s a clip:
The unifying concept in Rousseau’s writings is liberty, and the Discourse on Inequality and the Social Contract focus on the mechanisms that influence the liberty of man. In the Social Contract, Rousseau declares that his goal is to find:
“a form of association which defends and protects with all common forces the person and goods of each associate, and by means of which each one, while uniting himself with all, nevertheless obeys only himself and remains as free as before.”1
Rousseau proposes the general will as a solution to the goal, and civil equality and participation are two essential mechanisms that enable individuals to maintain their personal freedom and independency while being a citizen of a state. Ultimately, both civil equality and participation should be viewed as equally important since they mutually reinforce one another as they secure the liberty of man that Rousseau highly values. The absence of either will lead to the weakening of the general will and the degeneration of the state.
The State can be looked upon as the team: the Lakers, while the general will depends on the players that make up this team. Lakers become a perfect example of exercising the general will for the good of everyone. The concept of the general will acts to legitimize and establish a strong and fair government. The general will can be seen as the collective will that has the common good of all in mind which “must both come from all and apply to all.”2 The main reason why the Lakers won this series was because of teamwork. When one man could not deliver, he noticed and let others stepped up.
Every team in the NBA had an equal chance of making it to the finals. No bias was made and every team was basically “free.” Nothing held any of these teams back in achieving a championship title. However, some teams did not have a state where general will prevailed. This was evident in the Celtics. Players did not think of other options. They only thought for the good of themselves only. The moment that you pass the ball to your teammate when you are double-teamed or when you give the ball up so that someone else can have the glory, you are thinking for the general will. This is exactly what the Lakers did. They knew they were falling behind and realized why. They acted on this fast, and with teamwork, won game 7.
The Lakers participated and were all equals in this game of basketball. With this concept, the general will proved stronger in forming a winning team. The state was sound even as they were seen as a team, they all were still individually recognized.
Most people will look to the star player to deliver the points, assists, and rebounds that are needed in order to win the game. However, each person has a right to fully participate. When one starts viewing another as an equal and puts their trust in that person to do right is when we achieve equality. We are not equal until we see each other as an equal. We are not equal until we put our faith in others and participate according to the general will.
I’ll admit that I have a bias because I LOVE the Lakers, but there’s no denying the fact that the Lakers have something the Celtics don’t: teamwork. A funny tweet was posted by a guy, after having watch the Lakers lose one of the games in the finals to the Celtics, that said:
“The Celtics are garbage, truly. I’m not saying they’re not a good team, because they are, but their players are absolute trash. Watch them on the court and see what I mean; watch their antics and tell me that it doesn’t make you wanna wring their collective neck, especially as a Laker fan. A big reason why I hate the Celtics is because the whole team walks around like they’re individual hairs on God’s ass. Same reason why I hate LeBron. He’s a good player, a fucking great player, but “Chosen 1,” really? Please. Take your ass to the Amazon and get that head shrunk.
Am I a bitter LA fan right now? Damn right, I am, but that doesn’t take away from the fact that the Celtics are a bunch of brats.”
1 Rousseau, Social Contract I.VI
2 Rousseau, Social Contract II.IV