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Michael Phelps

Ultimate Teammate...
The truly great will assume whatever role is necessary for the team to win...

He was the star of the Olympic Games - a young man about whom so many words were written, that coming up with a new superlative to describe him is practically impossible. And his legacy will live on even after his world records are surpassed, because one thing I've noticed while watching Michael Phelps win - in close races, in blowouts, by himself and as a team member - is that he embodies nearly every one of the sixteen characteristics of Greatness that you'll find in true champions. He livesnearly every one of the characteristics - the adversity he battled growing up, the practice sessions he endures routinely, the life that he's grown to lead. He is truly great.

Shaquille O’Neal

Visualize Victory...
The truly great see victory before the game begins

Given all the changes that have occurred recently it may seem like it happened forever ago, but in reality only two years have passed since this scene played out at the NBA finals.

As his 7-foot-1, 325-pound frame would suggest, Shaquille O'Neal is as dominant a player as the NBA has ever seen.
In 2006, four years after O'Neal had won his third NBA Title with the Los Angeles Lakers, Shaq was playing for another championship - this time with the Miami Heat, who had acquired him in a trade two years before. But Shaq "Diesel" was no longer the talk of the NBA. O'Neal's new team was heavily overshadowed by the up and coming Dallas Mavericks and their 7-foot superstar Dirk Nowitzki. In fact, in a best of seven series most didn't think the Heat were capable of winning a single game.

Pat Summitt

What off-season...
The truly great are always working towards the next game... The goal is what's ahead, and there's always something ahead.

Tennessee's Pat Summitt is no stranger to hard work. In fact, it's the only kind of work the legendary head coach has known over her 34-year career. Growing up on a farm with three older brothers and a father who didn't take no for an answer, Summitt didn't really have much of a choice. After all, as she was told, "Cows never take a day off."

But it was her mother, who Summitt says worked harder than any of the men in the family, that taught her hard work isn't always good enough. To be the best, she would have to out-work the rest.

Dot Richardson

Contagious Enthusiasm...
They are positive thinkers... They are enthusiastic... and that enthusiasm rubs off.

Twice during the 1996 Summer Olympics, Dot Richardson and her teammates on the US softball team had faced the powerhouse team from China. Twice, in key situations, Dot had struck out.

So with the Gold Medal on the line, it was high drama when the captain of the American team stepped to the plate - and Dot put her previous failures out of mind. Then she hit a pitch out of the park.
Dot's two-run homer gave the US the win and the team the Gold. Her play didn't just propel the team, it propelled the sport of women's softball to new heights in the first Olympics where softball was a medal sport.

Brett Favre

Ice In Their Veins...
They are risk-takers and don't fear making a mistake.

It was third and seven. Brett Favre and the Green Bay Packers were on the Minnesota 16-yard line and threatening to score. As the play clock wound down, the veteran quarterback read the defense and changed the call on the field at the last possible second.

Then came the snap. Farve dropped back and, ever the gunslinger, fired cleanly into the hands of wide receiver Greg Jennings as he stepped untouched into the end zone.

For Favre, the touchdown pass was the NFL-record-breaking 421st of his career.

Swen Nater

Rubbing Elbows...
The truly great understand the value of association.

A community college basketball coach was getting his car fixed by a local mechanic. As he walked into the garage he noticed the guy under his car had his head sticking out one side of the car and his feet hanging out the other. That moment led to a life-changing discussion and a powerful lesson in Greatness.

As I sat with legendary UCLA basketball coach John Wooden, he told me the story of Swen Nater - an orphan from Holland who moved to the United States when he was three years old. He grew up in an American home and, as a high school junior, stood 6-feet, 11 inches tall.

Some of the Winning Teams Don Yaeger works with


DELL
Chevron
Microsoft
Hewlett Packard
BROCADE