Thursday, July 8, 2010

Super Teams

In keeping with the "All LeBron" theme of the week, I thought I would share my thoughts and add a little perspective to one angle of this whole, NBA free agency season.

First, there is no need to watch the special tonight, LeBron is staying in Cleveland. I can't understand all the speculation when I have already been very public with this announcement. I have solved the mystery so you can all stop looking for clues.

Second, I hear the talking heads say that "rings" or championships are how we judge athletes but that's just not true. Dan Marino is considered one of the best QB's of all tme despite his unadorned fingers whereas Trent Dilfer, Jeff Hostetler, Doug Williams and Mark Rypien, all QB's on championship teams, are not in that conversation. Carl Malone and John Stockton are always listed high in the NBA pantheon but neither won a ring in their careers. Patrick Ewing is considered one of the best centers of all time with no ring. Think about Pete Maravich, Allen Iverson, Steve Nash, Charles Barkley Reggie Miller, and Jason Kidd. All considered great; no championships between them.

Football, basketball, and baseball are team sports and no individual can be fairly judged by the quality of the team surrounding him. Sure, one sign of greatness is making your teammates better, but that's a pretty opaque scale.

Finally, a little perspective. When I was in 5th grade, I somehow ascended to the role of "leader of the kickball field" and found myself with the authority of deciding the rosters for the teams. I quickly learned to abuse this power by adopting all of the skilled kids to my team and transferring the nose-pickers to the other team. Naturally, we drubbed our untalented opponents for about 3 or 4 recesses, and then everyone lost interest.

It turned out not to be fun getting drubbed and taunted, nor was it fun to pummel a clearly inferior team. The lesson, which I am sure all NBA players learned somewhere along the way, is this: if LeBron were to go to Miami and join the other star free agents on a "Super Team", it would be a blow to the excitement of the NBA, and any success earned by the super team would be forever pale when compared to those victories earned in a balanced league.


  1. Anonymous7/08/2010

    When the talking heads say that athletes are judged on championships, it's because that IS how THEY judge them. Fans don't necessarily do it.

  2. Regardless of whether a player should be judged (by fans or media) by the number of championships won, LeBron himself has stated emphatically that he wants multiple championships. But from my viewpoint, he is spending more time trying to be famous than trying to win championships. Now he figures he can get both. He'll work on the brand while Wade and Bosh help deliver the rings.

  3. Joe Posnanski made a good comment on SI. He said 'you can't be legendary without a championship'. That makes sense even from a fan's perspective. You could win a championship without being a legend (see Rypien), but you can't be a legend without any championships (see Malone). Discuss.

  4. Jeff Ryer7/09/2010

    A legend in whose eyes ? All of sports ? Does that really matter ? Or does it matter at a more local level. Is Kevin McHale a hero in any place but Boston ? In Boston / New England he is a legend. It is like Paul Pierce (now I know he has a championship, so it is a little apple / orange) but was he ever really going to leave of his own free will just for another few million dollars, or does he want his jersey hanging in the Garden with the other Celtic Legends. After you retire and years go by, all you got is the local legend. Michael Jordan, Larry Bird, Magic - most 13 year olds don't have aclue who they are unless it is local kids....

  5. Completely disagree (surprise) with your 'only local legends' philosophy. But to answer the question about whether it matters or not - it obviously matters to LeBron and that was the topic of discussion.

  6. Everything will be alright in the end
    If it isn't alright
    Then it isn't the end

  7. Anonymous8/11/2010

    You nailed this one on the head.....oh wait, Lebron DIDN'T stay in Cleveland.

  8. That's why this blog is not called "What Does Den Know"....