Every NBA finals promo had Steph Curry at the forefront.
Every commercial. Every promo material. Every announcer, putting full emphasis on the legendary showdown between LeBron James and Steph Curry.
Kevin Durant and the Cleveland Cavaliers' counterpoint, Kyrie Irving, stood behind them.
Tonight, the Golden State Warriors closed out the NBA Finals with a win over the Cavaliers, 129-120. And guess who stole the show?
It wasn't Steph Curry. It was Kevin Durant.
In fact, moments after the game was over, Nike ran a commercial featuring Durant and only Durant. Old clips of him in years past, narrated by announcers and critics confident Durant would never amount to much as a player.
The spot ended with Durant celebrating his NBA championship win.
What's the moral here?
Leadership is not always about being the star of the show.
It's about letting those who are in a position to shine, shine.
For most of the game, Curry was either heavily guarded or cold and far from his hot-handed self. He was 2-9 from the 3-point line, while Durant was 5-8. And although he finished the game with 34 points, Durant closed with 39.
Most of the Warriors' momentum came from Durant three pointers or slam dunks.
And although Curry surely would have enjoyed having a stellar performance, none of the game's hiccups seemed to break his stride. In fact, as if so quietly no one could hear him, he snuck around the court looking for ways to help his teammates succeed instead.
He was not greedy, and was more than willing to forgo the individual spotlight for collective success.
This is one of the most important lessons in leadership. The same could be said for LeBron James, who at a moment's notice could grab the ball and score on his own, if he wanted to. But over the years he too has mastered the art of balancing his own individual talent with the craft of creating team-based opportunities.
Tonight, we saw that with Curry. The "golden child" of the league last year effortlessly, casually, respectfully stepped out of the way so that other players who had found their stride tonight could succeed.
Kevin Durant, leading the way.
That's what a real leader does.