Note from the author: Guest Writer- Emilio Gladstone
All apologies for the hiatus, sports fans; the real world has occupied much of my time lately. Before I get started on my latest rant, I’d like to remind everyone that we are now in the midst of the season of giving. With that in mind, I invite you to pass on your thoughts on “What Chaps My Taffy” and the topics we have covered in our first few articles. You can send me topics you’d like to see me cover, your own rants, or just general thoughts about me (ad hominem attacks welcome) and my viewpoint of the world of sports. My email address is firstname.lastname@example.org, and I look forward to keeping warm this winter by printing out your emails and burning them to piss off some dirty hippies.
Less than a month ago, I was celebrating the fact that the NBA season would be cancelled this year. I wouldn’t have to put up with 8 months of nonexistent defense, mugging at the camera after a dunk trying to look “hard”, and hideous suits after games at press conferences. Alas, my dreams were crushed as the horribly nasal voice of David Stern wheedled its way into the ears of the representatives of the NBA Players’ Association and they capitulated to the owners, ending the lockout. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy basketball. I enjoy going out and playing a pickup game (though I haven’t done it in a couple of years as I am currently doing my best to get fat), and March is one of my favorite times of the year as the Madness of the NCAA tourney envelopes me. But, sports fan though I am, I cannot embrace the National Basketball Association.
Following sports, especially at the professional level, you come to expect big egos and ridiculously over-inflated self-worth from the athletes. They are men at the peak of their physical prowess who are gifted beyond belief. They have been told their entire lives that they are the greatest things to happen since Jesus turned water into wine and made that wedding a kick-ass party. It just seems that the egos in the NBA have warped beyond all other pro athletes. It is so pervasive among the players that when a seemingly humble player (i.e. Kevin Durant and Stephen Curry) comes along, they are the exception rather than the rule. I hate the basketball highlights as players who make a routine layup or easy dunk celebrate as if they just rescued a kitten from a tree even if their team is down by thirty points.
Which brings me to my next point: what happened to the sense of team in the NBA? I think back to when I was growing up, even the Chicago Bulls of the glory years, and it wasn’t just Jordan. Yes, he was the focal point, but I can name plenty of others on the team: Scottie Pippin, Tony Kukoc, Dennis Rodman, Steve Kerr, Horace Grant, and even Luc Longley just off the top of my head. And Jordan took a pay cut at one point to bring in the pieces around him. Beyond James, Wade, and Bosh, I can’t name another player on the Miami Heat right now and those three all have max contracts or damn close. I am picking on the Heat right now because I am sick of hearing about them. They have continued this new trend in the league to form “super teams.”
It really started with Boston’s “Big Three” of Garnett, Allen, and Pierce a few years ago, but the Heat are the ones that epitomize this disease. Superstar players are now demanding trades to form these powerhouses. Carmelo Anthony last year followed by Chris Paul and Dwight Howard recently are perfect examples of this. At least Lebron and Bosh waited until they were free agents. If this trend continues, the NBA may as well eliminate teams and contract down to the few with all of the talent and not subject us to such a long season. The national media will only cover these teams anyway as the gap between the big market teams that can afford the top players and the small market teams that can’t widens each year. Just go straight to the playoffs, David Stern, and quit chapping my taffy. We already know who will end up there…