Monday, January 28, 2013

The Reason the "Big" Teams Can't Win without their Stars

Yep, that's right a picture of Phil Jackson.. I personally blame Phil Jackson for ruining the game of basketball. When he created Michael Jordan (and yes I said created, after all had MJ gone to the Lakers or Celtics of that time he would have been another exceptional cog in the wheel NOT the sole superstar) he created a monster. No I am not speaking of MJ as being a monster.. but the concept. No longer was basketball about the team, it was about the star! 

Oh sure there have always been "stars" in basketball but before they were surrounded by a team not sycophants.. Consider this what was Magic Johnson famous for? His free throws? Nope, His shooting? Nope. His Rebounds? Nope. HIS PASSES.. the man could pass a ball like nobodies business. He was a site to behold. To be famous for your passes meant he had to what? That's right PASS the ball! That meant while he had a superior ego (and yes I did meet him once) he also understood the game. And his ego was matched by his talent and his concept of the game. 

Magic also had an amazing cast of athletes surrounding him, they weren't his back up or his posse.. they were his team! Each an integral member of said team. Check out this roster...

Byron ScottGuard6'4"200 lbs.Mar. 28, 1961Arizona State, 1983
Magic JohnsonGuard6'9"220 lbs.Aug. 14, 1959Michigan State, 1979
Ronnie LesterGuard6'2"175 lbs.Jan. 1, 1959Iowa, 1980
Michael CooperGuard/Forward6'7"170 lbs.Apr. 15, 1956New Mexico, 1978
A.C. GreenForward6'9"230 lbs.Oct. 4, 1963Oregon State, 1985
James WorthyForward6'9"225 lbs.Feb. 27, 1961North Carolina, 1982
Jerome HendersonForward6'11"230 lbs.Oct. 5, 1959New Mexico
Kurt RambisForward6'8"215 lbs.Feb. 25, 1958Santa Clara, 1980
Larry SpriggsForward6'7"215 lbs.Sept. 8, 1959Howard, 1981
Maurice LucasForward6'9"215 lbs.Feb. 18, 1952Marquette, 1974
Mike McGeeForward6'5"205 lbs.July 29, 1959Michigan, 1981
Mitch KupchakForward6'9"230 lbs.May 24, 1954North Carolina, 1976
Chuck NevittCenter7'5"250 lbs.June 13, 1959North Carolina State, 1982
Kareem Abdul-JabbarCenter7'2"267 lbs.Aug. 16, 1947UCLA, 1969
Petur GudmundssonCenter7'2"260 lbs.Oct. 30, 1958Washington, 1981

How many of those names do you recognize? Maybe almost 30 years later not many but for the Laker fans of the 80's, believe me we appreciated a lot of those players.. There was so much more to the Lakers than Kareem's skyhook and Magic's infectious smile. They played the game!!!

Ever wonder how it is that the current Chicago Bulls are winning WITHOUT Their star? Guess.. yep you got it they have created a team of players who work together, rely on each others strengths and understands their own weaknesses.. Again, sure there are egos.. shoot they play professional sports in the 12's but they actually play the game. 

When I watch these showboaters, these headline grabbers I think back to a kid who used to play little league with my son. Now my son was not the greatest baseball player.. he might very well have been the worst. BUT he loved being a part of the team.. This other young man was awesome, he could hit, he could throw, he could pitch, he could catch.. Yep that's right he could do it all. What he couldn't do was play on the team. One mother once said.. "I wish my son could play baseball like ______" my response was "why? He doesn't know how to play baseball.. he knows how to hit, catch, pitch and throw. But when he is playing shortstop he shouldn't be making the catch in right field.." needless to say that went over like a ton of bricks.. But my point is, you don't win team games for long without a team. 

Why do the Spurs consistently win? Well, they are a team.. right now the "famous" teams are lacking the concept.. They just aren't getting it. Learn to play the game..not just master the individual skills.. well they all could learn how to shoot a freethrow but that's for another time.


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