NBA’s Deck is Stacked: Best NBA Player Question Will Be Answered?

Posted: August 12, 2010 by Jeff Craig in NBA
Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Bryant, Jordan, and James

I can admit it, along with millions of other fans, I fell victim to the conceived marketing ploy of King James and found myself in front of the TV watching ESPN’s, “The Decision.” Not only that, I found my heart thumping a little bit as they came back from each commercial, wondering if this would be the moment we’d all been waiting for. Moments later my heart sunk as my fears became reality, LeBron James would be taking his talents down to South Beach.

Those words will echo throughout the basketball kingdom for years to come.  What surprised me though was the faint groaning coming from the people at the interview. I was a little surprised that there were more people like myself, who did not want to see a, “Super Team” next year go around and trounce the NBA.

In the ensuing days I followed the story a little bit, surprised to see even a few NBA analysts express their disappointment in the recent events. Everyone had their angle on it, some were critical of the way he chose to announce it. Others were disappointed he wouldn’t be in Cleveland. None were more critical than the Cav’s owner Dan Gilbert who spewed from his pen fiery darts at the two- time MVP. I can’t lie, this has been all very entertaining to watch. Grown men making themselves out to be fools because they didn’t get there way, still, my heart reaches out to Cleveland fans. Public humiliation was never part of the deal when they drafted their hometown hero.

So a month later I find myself asking, “What has just happened? Did the NBA really just allow the teams to stack up like that? What about the Atlanta, Denver, and Orlando fans out there who were cheering for their teams to make a run at a championship? Haven’t we paid our dues? Didn’t we live through the hard years so we could see our teams make it to this point? And for what? So that a team of guys who lost their competitive edge can join forces and walk their way to a championship.”

Such is the case when you’re a sports fan. You often get overlooked in the matters. When Carlos Boozer and Amare Stoudemire decided they wanted more money, causing there teams to take on unwise financial loads, did anyone consider the fans who now would have to dig deeper into their wallets to pay the newly raised ticket prices to go to the games? No. They were not mentioned in the discussions with the owner.

Sports fans everywhere have felt the pains of those contracts, but decade after decade we’ve remained loyal to our teams. Night after night we’ve watched those athletes compete and perform at high levels for our entertainment. But what happens when you take away the competition? What happened to watching the best, try to beat the best? Now we’ve entered the era where the best, team up with the best, to take on the rest. (No rhyme was originally intended.)

That competition has slowly been dwindling over the past 15- 20 years, without us knowing it. Since I started watching basketball in the mid 90’s the only teams that have ever won a championship are the Chicago Bulls, LA Lakers, San Antonio Spurs, Boston Celtics, and Miami Heat, and Detroit Pistons. 6 teams in 15 years, I think that, “The Decision” was a long time coming.

Oddly enough, if you go back to the 80’s you’ll see a lot of those same teams on the list. Maybe those groans came because for the first time in awhile, we were about to see a team emerge from the obscure city of Cleveland come in and take a championship, and that hope was destroyed with the phrase, “I’ll be taking my talents down to South Beach.”

As an NBA fan, I’ve learned you must be optimistic. You must believe it will all work out for the better. In my optimism I’ve given myself a reason to watch the up and coming season of basketball, something I’ve been worried would not happen.  It happened at work as my coworkers and myself began discussing the age old argument of who is the best NBA player. We brought it down to the usual suspects of, “His Airness” Michael Jordan. The, “Black Mamba” Kobe Bryant, and “King James”.

I see on the horizons, a faint possibility of these discussions coming to an abrupt halt. Imagine with me, the 2012 NBA finals. Los Angeles Lakers and Miami Heat square off. Finally the world gets to see Kobe Bryant take on LeBron James for seven straight games. My honest prediction is that the Lakers will take the series. Assuming they did, which I think odds do favor them to do so, we can at last crown a king of the NBA.

Charles Barkley recently said you can take LeBron out of this conversation. I would agree with him because you cannot be the best, unless you’ve beaten the best. LeBron has not done that, and won’t do that in the foreseeable future.  So we can narrow our suspects down to Kobe and Michael. As much as I have respect for the great, Air Jordan, a finals victory over the stacked Miami Heat, is an accomplishment he never got.  While fans may still be able to argue who’s got the better all around game. I see now, and I think he sees it too, that Kobe Bryant has the greatest opportunity to crown himself the True King of the NBA, and wear the victor’s crown with a win over LeBron, Wade and Bosh this upcoming year.

The fate of the NBA however, rests in the hands of greedy owners, and childish athletes. When will they realize that this is more than just a game for the fans? After a tough day at work, we love coming home to the NBA double headers and watching out teams compete.  The new question to ask ourselves is, what will happen when you take the competition out of the league? Who will step up? Let’s all hope and pray for a miracle this season.

  1. Dan Condie says:

    There are a few good points here. I gotta say, I don’t understand where all the LeBron hate is coming from. He did more with less talent than anyone else in the NBA. Who was Mo Williams before LeBron James? Some Utah Jazz reject akin to Carlos Arroyo?

    The fact of the matter is, Cleveland sucks. Dan Gilbert knows it and the fans know it. LeBron James was the only chance they ever had at a winning season, let alone an NBA championship.

    The argument can be made that Gilbert and the rest of the Cavs front office did everything in their power to surround James with talent and the best they could do was Antoine Jamison? LeBron doesn’t OWE Cleveland anything. He single handedly kept them from utter economic depression. HE sold out the arena, HE sold the jerseys, HE is the reigning MVP and when push comes to shove, HE needs to make a choice that best suits him.

    This is more than a game to the fans? This is more than a game to LeBron and every other NBA player. Its their job, their career, their LIFE. LeBron wants to surround himself with not just talent but FRIENDS. Lets remember, talks of playing together surfaced at the Olympics in ’08. D-Wade, Bosh and King James meshed well together and knew they’d be successful.

    And you wanna talk stacked teams? Lets focus our attention on the Lakers and Celtics of old. You’re telling me Magic Johnson, Kareem Abdul Jabaar, and James Worthy was less stacked? Jordan, Pippen, Rodman (all NBA hall-of-famers or future HOF’ers) with lights out shooting help from Steve Kerr and Tony Kukoc? Not to mention the coaching prowess of Phil Jackson.

    Now, I know that it sucks that the Miami Heat are now the team to beat and found themselves in that position after just a few weeks of trades and free agency signings and that seems unfair to the Denver’s and the Atlanta’s who’ve struggled through last place finishes and team rebuilding and now you have to sit back and watch the Lakers and Heat duke it out over the next few years.

    But….as a LeBron James fan exclusively and not having any ties to any team but the one he plays for, I am stoked for this season and hope that they not only win the title every year, but do it in record breaking fashion. Kobe has NEVER played on a team with as little talent as LeBron has dealt with the last 7 years and can get away with an off night every once in a while. LeBron did not have that luxury….until now.

    All I know is, Sportcenter’s Top 10 is gonna be filled with LeBron/D-Wade breakaway, alleyoop, ridiculousness and I can’t wait.

  2. Jeff Craig says:

    Not the Boston Celtics, LA Lakers, OR Chicago Bulls of ANY era have had 2 of the top 3 players in the game, or 3 players capable of averaging 30 points a game my friend. Don’t get to critical of the Cav’s ability to surround James with talent. Last summer Ariza said he would sign with the Cav’s if LBJ would sign and extention and James wouldn’t. Seems like a clear message to any playoff hungry player in the NBA that LeBron wanted out of Cleveland. The Cav’s were a Championship team these last two years and the guy who was supposed to be their leader had his mind in NYC or Miami. The only defense he has is his last game in Cleveland he had a triple double. By that time I think the entire Cav team knew he’d be waiving bye bye. LeBron James is a new generation sell out.

    • Dan Condie says:

      Trevor Ariza? Are you kidding? I’m talking like lakers picking up Pau Gasol (to replace Shaq because let’s be honest, kobe on his own without a skilled big man in the paint scoring 20+ a game = no chance = spurs win the title that year. Lebron with no skilled big man = loss in playoffs to the dwight howards and Kevin garnetts, yet still drops a triple double performance now and then while averaging 30+ points in the series’.
      The guy wasn’t gonna promise an extension for a Trevor Ariza. Pippen as the lead player on another team at his prime was capable of WAY higher scoring #s than he had with Michael. And the opposite will happen with wade, lebron, and bosh. They are going to split possessions and take a hit to their individual scoring #s to help win as a team.
      You watch.

      PS-lebron grew up in akron, not Cleveland. He never grew up liking the cavs. He idolized Michael and loved the bulls. Remember, he’s our age and when have the cavs ever been good before lebron in our lifetime?
      He likes the yankees and other out of town teams. He doesn’t owe Cleveland anything. They lucked out in the lottery. That’s all.

  3. Jeff says:

    If LeBron wanted to go somewhere else that’s his business, you don’t see me criticizing that. But LeBron had the best regular season record for two straight years. His team had gone to the NBA finals previously. He had 4 players on the starting lineup that had been selected to the All Star team, and two of them had won MVP’s. He had all the firepower he needed to win. Trevor Ariza would have been a great addition and don’t even deny that, it would’ve added another champion to the team. Overall, he gave a half hearted effort. You didn’t see Kobe bail on the lakers after they lost to the Celtics. And Kobe Bryant + Gasol does not equal LBJ + Wade. Nor does KG+ Paul Pierce + Ray Allen equal LBJ + Dwane Wade + Chris Bosh. Michael Jordan was famous for taking players and making them better (he owes alot of that to Phil Jackson and the triangle offense to be honest. What did Scottie Pippen do after MJ retired? He played for the Blazers and was mediocre. Michael Jordan himself said, “I never would have done what he did because in all honesty I was trying to beat “those guys” (meaning Bird, Thomas, Magic and so forth)” The only other time we’ve seen this was with the Lakers back in ’04 I thihnk it was. Pistons won the title that year.

    • Dan Condie says:

      Its easy for Michael to say those things now. Take the Bulls and strip away Pippen and replace with Varejao, strip Steve Kerr and replace with Mo Williams. Strip Rodman and replace with Antoine Jamison…THAT Bulls team loses to the Suns, Rockets, Jazz and every other team they faced in the finals. (IF they make it past the Knicks and Pacers in the Conference finals match-ups) Oh, and I almost forgot, swap out Phil Jackson and replace with Mike Brown.
      LeBron is the best player ever.

  4. andre16025744 says:

    LerBron James is the best of the best people besides Kobe probably cant do half of the things LeBron can Kobe is plain old dirt he should be retired…

  5. kieyon reese says:

    yall dumb cause how many rings lebron got nun. now how many kobe got 5 rings thats a lot of work so people that said lebron yall some dumb asses

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