Up until 2010, Dwyane Wade was the star of the Miami Heat. No, actually, Dwyane Wade was the Miami Heat. In 2006 he led his team to the NBA championship and won the NBA Finals Most Valuable Player award. And he didn’t stop there. In the following years he only got better, scoring more than 30 points per game in 2009, winning the NBA scoring title and becoming the NBA All-Star Game MVP in 2010. Wade was the hottest player in the league, and was paid accordingly, almost 16 million dollars per season.
But then, something terrible happened – the Miami Heat decided to recruit talent from another place and signed LeBron James. Suddenly everything has changed. Wade was no longer the star of his team. The number of his shots dropped, his assists were down by 30% and his salary was down by almost two million dollars from the year before. Basically, Dwyane Wade got screwed, but this is not the full story.
With James’s help, the Heat won more games, reached the NBA finals on their first year together and won the NBA championship a year later. They have become the most exciting team in the league, attracting many more viewers to their games and getting a lot more money through a new television deal. The entire team has enjoyed its new place in the spotlight. Dwyane Wade was no exception. His renewed stardom has landed him a 6 year contract worth over 100 million dollars, and one of the largest in history shoe endorsement campaigns with the Chinese athletic company, Li Ning.
The history of sports is full of organizations which transformed themselves and became successful after acquiring brilliant new talent. This is not limited to just sports teams. American companies have been attracting the best and the brightest employees from all over the world for decades, but the recent surge in unemployment has caused people to argue against this policy. While this arguments sounds reasonable, it is missing the big picture.
Over the last decades, hundreds of American companies were founded, led or contributed to by immigrants from all over the world. They were not born in the US, but still have made a significant contribution to the US economy. According to Forbes, 40% of the Fortune 500 companies were founded by either immigrants or their children and 75% of the companies who received venture capital funding had at least one foreign born core member. Google, PayPal and eBay all had immigrants as co-founders and currently employ large number of foreigners. Besides creating thousands of jobs for the people they currently employ, they have also created ecosystems that give jobs to millions of others. Great talent creates great opportunities that everyone can benefit from.
Without James, Wade would still be the star of his team. He would have scored the most points, have the highest exposure, and the highest salary. But the Heat would not be the most popular team in the league and its players would go mostly unnoticed. Success is achieved by increasing the size of the pie, not by preventing pieces from others.
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