This week on our Masters in Business radio podcast, we sit down with Byron Scott, a former L.A. Laker and NBA Coach, and his co-author, Charles Norris, the former CEO of McKesson & Deer Park Spring Water, discussing leadership in business and sports. The two are the authors of a new book Slam-Dunk Success: Leading from Every Position on Life’s Court.
Scott won three championships as a member of Lakers during the Showtime era, as a starter alongside Magic Johnson, James Worthy, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and A. C. Green. He coached the New Jersey Nets into two NBA Finals, and was named coach of the year in the 2007-2008 season. He is now an analyst for ESPN. Norris is former CEO and president of McKesson Water as well as Deer Park Spring Water. Turning both companies around and selling them for $1.1 billion dollars and > $300 million respectively. He currently has an investment portfolio of five companies where he plays an active board role, including Freshpet, where he is chairman of the board.
The two formed an unlikely friendship, meeting in an L.A. Equinox gym, and subsequently working out together. Despite being from two very different industries, they discovered they had similar philosophies about work, life and managing people. Thus, a unique friendship was forged. Their book Slam-Dunk Success was a way to share some of the ideas they held in common with a broader audience.
The story of how the two of them met and began working out and collaborating together is a warning against people making snap judgments based on appearances.
Since it is the NBA playoffs are in full mode, I asked Scott about some of the current talent in the league. He agreed with Oscar Robertson that the modern NBA players are softer now than when he played. He notes, however, that LeBron James is a once in a generation player who would have dominated in any era he played in.