I’ve been away from the blog for awhile. Not really sure why. But I’m back now.
In my time away, I’ve had a chance to think more about what LeBron James said about the NBA needing to contract teams – mentioning the Minnesota Timberwolves – in an effort to create more super-teams like the league had in the 1980s. That was a decade most would call the “Golden Age” of the NBA.
I don’t disagree with James’ statement, though I think it’s in his best interest to keep opinions like that to himself. Certainly, that’s not something the Players’ Association wants to hear him say.
The NBA more than any other league struggles with parity. Dating back to 1984, the NBA has had only seven different franchises win a championship. If the ultimate goal of every team is to win it all, there’s some problems there that haven’t been resolved for a lot of the league’s teams.
But what also made the NBA great in the 1980s was the star players. Think about it. Magic’s Lakers. Jordan’s Bulls. Bird’s Celtics. Those players were synonymous with their teams.
So I think it’s easy for LeBron to point to the Timberwolves or New Jersey Nets and say that such-and-such team would be better if it had Kevin Love, so let’s get rid of the Wolves. But back in the 1980s, the star players didn’t opt to not be the man.
I don’t have any problem at all with LeBron choosing to team up with Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh to form a super team. He’s entitled to do what he wants. But the NBA wasn’t like that in the 1980s.
Sure, Michael Jordan had Scottie Pippen. There was plenty of talent on those Bulls teams. But he won titles with Bill Cartwright and Luc Longley as starters. Craig Hodges and John Paxson logged significant minutes. Good players, of course. But not stars. Jordan made those players around him better. He made them a great team, a 72-win team.
That desire just doesn’t seem to be there anymore with many of today’s stars.