Wesley is a sports expert and journalist out of Philadelphia that writes for Bleacher Report. You can check out all of his work at http://bleacherreport.com/users/88810-wesley-kaminsky or follow his twitter @Wesley_Kaminsky
Remember back in the old NBA days where stars wanted to compete against one another and not join forces for the sole purpose to win a ring? I am talking about back in the days of Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, and Larry Bird. These guys did not want to play together and dominate the NBA for years to come, they wanted to battle it out and compete against each other. No, I was not around during the days of Bird and Magic, and was a baby while Jordan was in his prime, but I do know one thing, that the NBA has completely changed since then.
Superstars do not want to compete against each other, they want to play with each other. It all started in the summer of 2007, when the Celtics revamped their roster, acquiring Hall of Famers Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen to go along with an All-Time great Celtic, Paul Pierce. When I learned of this trade, I immediately hated the Celtics, and was rooting for them to fail. Garnett, who had been in Minnesota for 12 years, and had been out of the first round of the playoffs just once, could not take it anymore. He wanted to win a ring, and would do precisely that a year later with the Boston Celtics. My hatred for the Celtics grew more and more with each win, and after they won the championship. It in fact disgusted me. Then, in the 2009 NBA playoffs it would reach a new high as they pulled it out against the Bulls 4-3 in what has been since mentioned as one of the greatest playoff series’ in NBA history. This was the most exciting thing I had ever witnessed as a Bulls fan, as well as the most heart breaking. I still have nightmares of Ray Allen burying three pointer after three pointer, and Paul Pierce hitting the big shots.
However, all my hate for the Celtics vanished in the summer of 2010 when LeBron James infamously “took his talents to South Beach” to join Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh on the Miami Heat. Like the rest of the world I was shocked when LeBron said this. How could this be? The guy who was supposed to be the next Michael Jordan took the easy way out, abandoning his hometown Cavaliers to join his buddy Dwyane Wade. After back to back seasons in which the Cavaliers collapsed in the playoffs, LeBron James could not take it anymore, and left the Cavs with nothing. Leaving the Cavaliers immediately ended any hopes he had of being mentioned among the greatest ever. The greatest players in NBA history are the best players, and leaders of their teams. They love the responsibility they have of being the best, and LeBron James could not handle that.
With LeBron James leaving the Cavaliers, it appeared that a trend was starting. Carmelo Anthony saw what LeBron did, and he thought it would seem fun to join a fellow star. The whole first half of the season was dominated by Carmelo rumors and his dream to play in New York for the Knicks. His wish came true finally, as he joins forces with Amare Stoudemire in an attempt to make the Knicks relevant again.
Do you notice a trend here? Since Garnett left, the Timberwolves franchise has fallen apart, and since LeBron left, the Cavaliers are the worst team in the NBA. Will the Nuggets franchise suffer the same fate? Now, rumors are also surfacing that Chris Paul is planning on joining Carmelo Anthony and Amare Stoudemire in New York. If that happens, then add the Hornets to the list of teams in turmoil.
Stay tuned for the next edition of TheSportsKraze.
Players, just like anyone in the workforce, can go to any place of work that will hire them. Whether the reason is for more money or a better working environment, or any reason, we can all do what we want. However, as a sports fan, what is happening to the NBA, is similar to MLB. There will be just a few elite big market teams and the rest of the league will have little chance. As a fan, I like the way the NFL is set up. Of course they are about to go on strike. I liked the old days better.
Yeah, of course they can do whatever they want, but my point is it just frustrates me. Wouldn’t it be better to compete against these guys?
I don’t disagree with you. It would be better. However, just as you or I can go to work at any place that will have us, athletes should have the same choice. Unfortunately, athletes choosing their own destinations, takes away so much of the competitiveness of the league.
We are clearly on the verge of contraction, in fact, one could make an argument that the players are doing that for us when the stars congregate on a select group of certain teams. It may not be a “feel-good” situation for the small-market teams, but the idea that leagues should have parody is a complete sham.
Look at the 1980’s in the NBA. Know how many franchises made the NBA Finals? Five. Out of the ten Champions in the 80’s, know how many weren’t the Celtics or the Lakers? Two; the 76ers in ’83 and the Pistons in ’89 – nad they both had to beat both the Celtics and the Lakers to be Champs. Know what else you can say about the 80’s? It was the pinnacle of popularity for the NBA.
Look at the English Premier League, the world’s most popular sports league. In it’s 20 years history 44 different franchise have competed in it. Know how many have won it? Four.
Even the NFL, which loves to bleat about parody does a poor job of following the model. In the AFC, 7 of the last ten Championship Games have been won by two franchises; Pittsburgh and New England. The NFC, on the other hand, defines “parody” by having 10 different franchises win the last 10 Championships Games; the NFC has been represented by 11 different franchises in the past 15 Super Bowls. However, The NFC has a 6-9 record in those 15 Super Bowls.
The point is there is no benefit in having a league with 30 mediocre teams. It is so clear that a model that has 6 great teams, 12 mediocre teams, and 8 terrible ones will be more successful than one that boasts “parody.”
Those are very interesting points. And I think you are right. The 80s were the apparent glory age for the NBA. They had a couple of dominant teams. Things seem to be moving in that direction in a hurry. It will be interesting to see what happens with the NBA’s new CBA. It will have a large affect on the future of the League and if this contraction occurs.
I’d argue that the East has been a cut above the West all season, perhaps even for the majority of last season. Melo and Williams going East just increases that advantage IMO.
I could see that. But these recent trades just were the icing on the cake. Now the East is a cut above without question.
Well the East is very top heavy, but then 6-8 is pretty bad. The West is deep all the way through 8.
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