Thursday, 1 April 2010
Basketball: Rotten At It's Core - Superman Dog Edition
I grew up with Magic, Bird and Jordan. Three of the greatest players ever to lace up over-priced signature shoes. These were guys that personified the clubs they played for: Bird, the hard working blue collar business man of the court. Magic, a perfect complement to his Hollywood neighbours, bringing another version of showtime to Los Angeles and Jordan of course, whose ‘Bulls 23’ jersey was inter-changeable with Superman’s red and blue(not unlike our friend Superman Dog up there). All of these guys stayed with their clubs for their tenure in the NBA (unless you count Jordan’s third comeback, which i don’t) and displayed a loyalty that is becoming almost extinct in today’s modern league.
I remember buying a copy of NBA’s rising stars on VHS video (Kids: Ask your dad - Unless you live in Easterhouse, then go straight to Granny) which was released following Michael Jordan’s retirement. It featured a host of players that the league had touted as the replacements to fill MJ’s loafers, set to a stale platter of 90’s rap and R and B. I had no reason to doubt them, or suspect that the NBA was sweating bullets over the fact that there was really no-one who could carry the torch into the next generation.
Am i being too harsh? Lets have a look at some of the “superstars” that robbed me of £14.99:
Larry Johnson (did a 360 once, got injured soon after, no championships), Derrick Coleman (played power forward for NJ, no championships), Kenny Anderson (decent point guard, no championships), Dan Majerle (had a stand out year in ’93, no championships), Steve Smith (No championships, no point), Tim Hardaway (No championships, unhealthy amount of predjudice) and lastly, Harold Miner (whose nickname “Baby Jordan” invites a defamation lawsuits from all Jordan’s and infants everywhere. Also: No championships.)
My point is this: Nothing has changed. There has been a hell of alot of players since 1993 who have been shoved down our throats as “superstars” when in fact they are lacking something so integral to the term that sets them apart from true legends of the game. This is evident in the last year with several of the stars of the noughties seemingly washed up and unable to find a team.
Allen Iverson is talented, ill give you that. He’s also been bandied about the league more times than a Magic Johnson groupie. The fact no team want him at age 33 is not because he is washed up, but rather his attitude towards the team aspect. After returning home to Philly recently, he has upped sticks and left again. Tracey McGrady is a phenomenal athlete who is returning from injury to find out that it is a struggle to find a home for a former scoring champion. After being told by Houston he was unwanted, the Knicks finally and unenthusiastically picked him up. Finally, Gilbert Arenas is a great shot. With both a basketball and the AK47 he keeps in his locker.
These guys’ flashy moves on the court distract us from the lack of character they show off it. If you look at the NBA as a house and LeBron and Kobe as its pillars, then Iverson, Arenas, McGrady, Vince Carter and many more is simply your incontinent Grandmother that comes to visit from time to time. Entertaining? Sure. But at the end of the day, the carpets ruined.