Saturday, September 11, 2010

There is no I in team, but there is in Win



With all the hoopla that has occurred in the NBA within the past 4 months from Lebron James decision, to the Chris Paul rumors, and now Carmelo Anthony in Denver, the league, rather players, have shifted into a different mold then the players your parents use to watch.

Everybody watched the ESPN special on Lebron James that night with the verdict leaving a pain in everyone’s stomach except for the few Heat fans.  We spent the next month listening to reportedly trade demands for the best point guard in the game.  Lately, it has been what will Denver do with their superstar, another member of the 2003 draft.

Fans and writers can speculate about when these decisions were made, whether the Olympics gave these players a taste of victory, which they all wanted to carry over to the NBA or if they conspired to do this long ago when they decided to sign only 3 year deals, at the time we thought they did it for more money.

The old timers came out on this matter saying they would have never imagined joining forces (although they played together in 1992 with Bird and Magic on the decline).

“Things are different. I can't say that's a bad thing. It's an opportunity these kids have today. In all honesty, I was trying to beat those guys." – Michael Jordan

"He'll never be Jordan, This clearly takes him out of the conversation. He can win as much as he wants to. There would have been something honorable about staying in Cleveland and trying to win it as 'The Man.' “ – Charles Barkley

"We didn't think about it cause that's not what we were about. From college, I was trying to figure out how to beat Larry Bird." – Magic Johnson

No one is going to doubt that the Miami Heat will be good, no one is doubting the numbers that will be put up by their stars.  All we know from this is the younger generation doesn’t try hard enough, or if it is too hard, then quit.

With Lebron claiming he went to Miami to win is absurd, for the MVP of the league winning more games in the past three years than anyone complaining about winning, it was all on his shoulders.  We can debate the Cavs roster all day, but the fact is they won 50 game in 4 of the last 5 years, with two years over 60.  Carmelo is now rumored to be feeling the same way about Denver.  I understand that both franchises seemed to have already peaked, however, those two players are the best and the building blocks for those franchises, Kobe proved you can build teams around the best player different ways.

This wasn’t supposed to be a bashing Lebron article, but you always take the best player when discussing the league mentality, since it all started with him and his peers seem to follow suit.  The players are all friends in this day and age, which makes for less entertaining sport.  Think of the best rivalries left in the league and you think of Rockets verses Jazz, Celtics verses Bulls, and Magic verses Celtics.  Those series are always amazing to watch, same with the Cavs verses Celtics but not anymore. 

The league needs its Kevin Garnett’s, Kobe Bryant’s and Joakim Noah’s, it is what makes the league great.  The league is best suited if there are more competitive individuals throughout the league, than one super team.  I understand that a super team like the 96 Bulls would be entertaining in this day and age, but really remember back to the league during those times, they were not nearly as competitive as I feel the league has been the past couple of years (minus the space between Jordan era and the 2000’s), I have felt more teams have chances to win now. 

Will we ever see another Michael Jordan again?  I should actually ask if we would ever see another Kobe Bryant, because he could truly be the last of his generation. Kobe had his moments where he asked to be moved or get better talent around him, however, he now has 5 rings with two different dynasties (sound familiar?).  Whether you love or hate Kobe, he plays hard every game and wants to win every night.  He will fight you if he has to in order to win.

I never complained when Lebron stormed off the court after a series loss or Steve Nash shedding tears in the locker room.  What I do have a problem with is Smiling during a playoff series losing with under a few minutes left (see Dwight Howard).  The killer mentality is what made Magic, Bird, Jordan and many more who they were.  Now players think who can I play with instead of who can I beat.

“As far as carrying the torch for the years to come, I don't know. I just want to be the best basketball player I can be.” - Kobe Bryant

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