The NBA has Changed, for Better or for Worse

It seems no longer that a player will stick it out for the team that drafted him, no longer will a player gut through the heartbreak of multiple playoff losses, and use that as motivation to get to the top.

This new school era, looks like it will take the easy way out.

LeBron James a back-to-back NBA MVP, did not want to gut it out with the Cavaliers, he decided that the time is now to go chase a ring.

Charles Barkley did it in Houston, Karl Malone, and Gary Payton with the Lakers, Kevin Garnett going to the Celtics. They all went to different franchises, with dominant superstars to chase a ring, but there is one difference.

Their best playing days were behind them, AKA they were out of their prime.

That’s why LeBron James teaming up with Dwayne Wade, and Chris Bosh was such a dynamic shift in the history of the league. This doesn’t happen, heck it never has. Dwayne Wade and LeBron James are the two best players in the league behind Kobe Bryant.

Chris Bosh isn’t too shabby either, a top 10 talent no doubt, and now they are all on the same team.

Maybe, this generation of superstars have got smarter. Rather, then wait it out, and possibly have to chase a ring at the end of their careers, they team up with the best the league has to offer earlier in their career, to almost guarantee a ring before its too late.

LeBron has seen the stigma attached to Barkley, Malone, and Stockton, and he doesn’t want that. But, what’s more honorable, figuring out a way to win it all with the team you have went to battle with the last 7 years. Or put your ego aside, and decide its time to go team up with other superstars to gain that ultimate prize.

Michael Jordan never would of done what LeBron did. “There’s no way, with hindsight, I would’ve ever called up Larry, called up Magic and said, ‘Hey, look, let’s get together and play on one team,’” Jordan said, on a NBC telecast.

Magic Johnson wouldn’t either, “We didn’t think about it ’cause that’s not what we were about,” Johnson said at Baruch College in New York, according to Bloomberg News. “From college, I was trying to figure out how to beat Larry Bird.”

66 wins in 08-09, 61 wins in 09-10. The best record in the NBA the last two years, and that wasn’t enough for the self proclaimed “King James”. Rather then say, we are really close, he said, its time to move on.

Now with the news of Chris Paul demanding a trade from New Orleans, and that he wants to play with another superstar. Preferably Kobe in LA, Amar’e in NY, or Dwight in Orlando, yet another player that will be a superstar for years to come has conceded that he can’t do it alone.

This is definitely a new school of thought, and may be the way superstars go about their careers from here on out.

Shaquille O’Neal came to LA in 1996 in his prime, only to win one game in the playoffs against the Utah Jazz, and lose 8 in back to back years, and then got swept in 1999 by the San Antonio Spurs.

That heartbreak, turned into a 3-peat 2000-2002. But, in this current era who knows? Maybe Shaq leaves the Lakers, and teams up with Tim Duncan.

Maybe the media is to blame, but it seems, if you don’t get a ring, that your career is meaningless. Much why, these guys in their prime are so anxious to do whatever it takes to get a ring. Even if that means hurting their respective legacy’s.

Even if the Big 3 win it all, it wont be as sweet. It wont have a terrific storyline, it will simply be that they have three great players that can lead a team by themselves, yet they decided to do it together.

If and when King James wins a ring, he will go down in history as a Champion, and will always have a ring on his finger to show for it.

Call me old school, but even if James wins one in the near future with the “Super Team”, i’ll still respect Reggie Miller, Karl Malone, Patrick Ewing, and Charles Barkley more then LBJ.

They might not have rings, but true basketball fans know their influence on the game, how great they were, and more importantly how hard they battled to get a championship for their city.

It might be possible, but for now it seems in 20 years when someone mentions Lebron James I will remember him more for his lack of respect, and the way he chose to devastate the Cleveland Cavaliers fans, with “The Decision”, more then anything he does in Miami.

Oh and if the first three rings Kobe got “Don’t count” because he had Shaq. Whatever the amount The King may get down in South Beach…

They won’t count either.

David Brickley is a staff writer, and host of The Voice of the Nation podcast on TLN. You can view more of his work at davidjbrickley.com

  • ricky

    It’s not a bad thing to be able to team up with other superstars, but it doesn’t make the NBA as exciting because all the bright, young talent is concentrated in one spot. I don’t know about these new generation players getting smarter, I think they are getting less competitive and don’t wish to carry the load as “the Man”. I like what Jordan said, that he was actually trying to beat his rivals, which is something that you don’t see much now in the NBA. I think the only player who still shows the old school traits is Kobe. Sure, he’s got great players on his team now, but they were traded there to help him. It was not some master plan perceived months or years in advance. It takes the challenge out of playing in the NBA. No longer are teams good with their 1 or 2 stars, but now teams are just loading up and going into full battle. I guess it’s not a bad thing, but I think the way LeBron did Cleveland, through the whole media session, was fukn jacked up!

    • http://www.Hehatemealotbiatch.com hehatemealot

      Call me old school, but even if James wins one in the near future with the “Super Team”, i’ll still respect Reggie Miller, Karl Malone, Patrick Ewing, and Charles Barkley more then LBJ. WTF …. Fck those losers. There’s nothing wrong with what Lebron is doing. Why the fck would he want to play in Cleveland? He is 25 years old he needs to party in Miami. Cleveland never put players around him.

      • http://www.kevinsmoore.com Moorepower310

        Cleveland never put players around him?

        • B Holland

          Who would you rather have as your sidekick? Mo williams or Pau Gasol? Mo Williams or Kareem? Mo Williams or Scottie Pippen? Mo Williams or McHale?

          Rest my case

          • More Cookies 4 Kob

            B Holland: Try running your same argument against Hakeem in his 93-94 season. Here’s I’ll make it easy for you: http://www.basketball-reference.com/teams/HOU/1994.html

          • B Holland

            You don’t know your history. Hakeem should thank MJ probably the greatest player in history for taking a vacation in baseball. No knock on Hakeem as he was a great player.

  • alex

    Interesting article. I’d like to add this though: they are putting themselves more on the line now than ever. If they don’t win a championship, regardless of any other support players they get, their names could be forgotten in NBA history.

    • si pepe

      i agree! it sums up everything..nice article!

  • ricky

    Oh and if the first three rings Kobe got “Don’t count” because he had Shaq. Whatever the amount The King may get in South Beach…

    They won’t count either.

    - The best part of this article!

    • si pepe

      aye aye sir!

  • Gino

    I definitely agree with the article’s points. One poignant thing I wanted to add though, LBJ’s destructive behavior in Cleveland happened over time. It was quite obvious that he quit on his team and his loyalty already started faltering. I guess you can say that the decision was LBJ’s Coup de Grâce to Cleveland and his own legacy.
    .
    It isn’t a bad thing to team up with others or friends and to realize that you need help to win. But when it’s still not over and you’re already making alternate plans? It just seems to me that the motivation is now to win as much without having to exert as much effort or deal with the pressure. It is better to work smarter not harder, but not at the expense of the team you’re currently playing for by giving a half-ass effort.
    .
    What made all those ringless or “finally a ring” players great was their perseverance. Even tried everything they could on their current teams, and if all else failed they moved on to another team or just went down with their sinking team.
    .
    CP3 may be looking for another team, but if you look carefully at the events that have been happening, he’s doing something similar to the Kobe rant a few years ago. From what I remember reading before, he’s been trying to wake the team up and try to make moves to improve. Their FO hasn’t really done anything since challenging the Lakers for the best WC record in 2008. So it’s not like CP3 was quitting on his team during the season. To me it’s more like “if you guys don’t wanna do stuff to improve, please ship me to a team that knows WTH they’re doing or where I can at least have an opportunity.”
    .
    The LBJ and CP3 situations are different. Although both are looking for better opportunities to win, one was already looking through the classifieds or entertaining thoughts DURING a playoffs series. The other was pretty much pushed into a really tough situation.

    • Yehey

      To me it’s more like “if you guys don’t wanna do stuff to improve, please ship me to a team that knows WTH they’re doing or where I can at least have an opportunity.”

      So true!

  • http://www.facebook.com/thepandasayshello Josh Herrington

    Loved the very last part.

  • http://57.amklac laffs atu

    JUST because LEBRONZE is the face of the NBA AND MUCH MORE FUN TO WATCH THAN YOUR WORN OUT ,MISSES 20 SHOTS A GAME,PAPER MVP,BRYANT.EVERY DAY ITS A STORY ABOUT LE-BRONZE……EVERYDAY ON THIS GAYNATION LEBRON IS A HEADLINE

    • Abs

      hey guys look! another hater!

      we here used to be annoyed at your consistent bashing of the superstar. we were annoyed. but after so long, I would not even spit in the same direction as you. What are you gonna say now?

      “Oh kobe’s a rapist, you have a rapist leading your team haha”
      “Oh kobe’s a ballhog, you guys are lucky you won”
      “Oh the lakers are stacked they were always the favorites no big deal”

      i think the best argument you would have is “I just hate Kobe”
      There is no logical reasoning behind how you hate Kobe. It just doesnt make sense.

      So fck off.

    • 242LakerFan

      I need to check my prescription, because all I could make out was “BLAH BLAH BLAH…kiss LeBron’s butt…BLAH BLAH BLAH…whine and moan…BLAH BLAH BLAH…my team sucks ass…BLAH BLAH BLAH…how come everyone laffs atme?

    • LakErS 3 pEaT

      FncK oFF laffs atu!!!! You yourself named your hero LeBronze. How can he be the face of the nba? You just contradict yourself by that statement. And Paper MVP Are you kidding me? Your LeBronze or Leburn I should say was an MVP but he can’t take his team to a championship therefore give up and went to follow D-Wade? C’mon man! He has tainted his legacy forever in the nba and just be forgotten like any ordinary nba player in history. You should call him LeStupid or LeGiveUp by not persevering through hard times that will build characters in him. Man… Man… Man…

      • andrewsarti4

        its funny how people remember things…or dont remember things like how jordan shot 15 for 35 in his final game with the bulls but all thats remembered is the last shot. if the lakers would have been down late and needed a big shot would you have bet against kobe? not if you know anything about basketball you wouldnt.

        • KRILL

          As ive said b4.. most anti kobe people are people who didnt like the NBA before but now do because they had to pick a team to root for against the Lakers everytime they played the Lakers.. then they go on to Lakers blogs to be trolls in full display. YA I nailed u LAFFS ATU.. lil kobe poser.. Kobe back to back that takes character straight up.

  • http://www.myspace.com/guszo gus26

    ok can i just say that i HATE logging on to a lakers site and seeing a big ass picture of the heat trio… come on TLN…

    • http://TheVerveNerve.com Billy Kupchak

      :cool:

    • MECKA

      Agreed

  • letsGOlakers!

    hell ya!!! lebron just ruined his legacy, but he finally realized the only way to beat the best in the league (KB24) is to team up with 2 other players thats how unbeatable kobe is
    and he wants to show everyone that hes better than kobe and get atleast one ring
    aint happening!

    • http://lakernation gwforum

      LEBRON HAS NO LEGACY!! HES JUST A WITNESS 2 KOBES LEGACY!! 5 RINGS!! & COUNTING!!!

  • http://lakernation gwforum

    FUC U LAFFS ATU!! I HOPE MIAMI MAKES IT 2 DA FINALS SO THA LAKE SHOW CAN ELIMINATE THERE ASS! LBJ NEEDS 2 DEVELOP A POST GAME! D-WADE NEEDS A CONSISTENT JUMPER! CHRIS BOSH NEEDS 2 LEARN HOW 2 PLAY DEFENSE!! WHOS THEIR POINT GUARD? CHALMERS.. HES GARBAGE! & LAST BUT NOT LEAST BIG Z IS THE STARTING CENTER?? HES OLD ENOUGH 2 BE BYNUMS DAD!!LOL! WHEN THE CHAMPS 3-PEAT. THE LAKER NATION WILL LAFFATU!! NOTHING CAN STOP DIS LAKERS DYNASTY!! KB24 ALL-WORLD MVP!!

  • http://facebook.com/john-stewart mr terrific

    LeBron the Puppet’s got bigger balls than LeBron James!

    • B Holland

      Do you have such an inferiority complex that you have to build yourself up by calling yourself terrific? lmao

      • http://facebook.com/john-stewart mr terrific

        Oh I get it! The B in your name stands for Bitch!!

        • B Holland

          You don’t get it. If I did the same thing as you I would use the word beautiful, but since you have to be the most Narcissitic person around you call yourself terrific. Go hug your mommy.

  • B Holland

    Word advice to Brickley. If you want to keep writing for Lakersnation keep writing “behind Kobe Bryant”. If you want to write objectively write “james and wade are two of the three best players in the league which includes Kobe Bryant”.

  • faker-nation

    miami the best city this country has to offer…2011 nba champs..get white girl anal rapist kobe a tissue…lets go heat! go hang out with big ben

  • faker-nation

    ALL HAIL KING JAMES

  • what does http://bit.ly/a6iLTr mean?

    lebron wade bosh the menage-a-twats