I spent the
majority of my childhood in between Alabama and North Carolina.
Alabama prides itself for their awesome college football as the home of
The Alabama Crimson Tide and the Auburn Tigers. North Carolina is
college basketball territory, with Duke, UNC, N.C. State and Wake
Forest all within 2 hours of each other. I wasn’t brought up
watching the NBA. I do know the game and one thing I know is that
one star player can’t win a championship. It wasn’t until Michael
Jordan realized that fact for himself that he decided to get those
around him more involved. Scottie Pippen would have never emerged
as one of the 50 greatest players in NBA history if it wasn’t for
Jordan sharing the wealth.
Over the last couple of decades NBA basketball has changed. It
has become a game of flashy dribbling, junk talking, dunk happy, one on
one basketball. It’s hard for me to even watch the NBA until
playoff time. Remember the eighties and nineties when teams like
the Celtics, Lakers and Bulls ruled the court. All those teams
had superstars (Larry Bird, Kevin McHale, Magic Johnson, Kareem Abdul
Jabbar, James Worthy, Michael Jordan, and Scottie Pippen), but they
also had great supporting cast that were integral parts of those
championships (Dennis Scott, Robert Parrish, Danny Ainge, AC Green,
Byron Scott, BJ Armstrong, John Paxon and Steve Kerr).
They played team basketball, but these days it’s not about TEAM
(Together Everyone Achieves More) it’s about ME. How many times
did Kobe Bryant score 40 or 50 points and the Lakers still managed to
lose? How many years in a row has Allen Iverson been in the top
five in the league in scoring and the Sixers fizzle in the
playoffs? It seems like Gary Peyton is with a different team
every year trying to rekindle the days when he was a star in Seattle,
instead of showing loyalty to one team and trying to win a championship.
The Detroit Pistons have figured it out. I think the San Antonio
Spurs are a close second, but no other teams truly get that you have to
play as a team and put winning before money. Chauncey Billups has
been the NBA Finals MVP twice and could have easily left for more
money. Richard Hamilton is considered one of the best guards in
the game, and yet he never gripes about not being paid enough.
Ben Wallace has won 4 straight defensive player of the year awards and
still remains loyal to the Pistons.
Even the reserves, like Lindsey Hunter, Antonio McDyess, and Tony Delk
could be either starting or getting much more playing time if they
opted to leave Detroit. Nobody wants to leave, because this team
truly puts their teammates in front of themselves and everyone is there
to win championships. How long will it last? I am not sure.
Even the Bulls with 6 championships under their belt eventually broke
up. At some point, money will get involved and these guys will go
their separate ways but right now, they make it refreshing to watch the