As a young rebellious Italian growing up in Northern California, I tended to get in trouble a lot. Yeah, I know, an adolescent Italian boy who has been spoon fed Raiders and The Doors since he was 3, getting in trouble. Who would have thought? My younger sister, who was an angel, never got in trouble. However, as I kept getting in trouble I realized something: Even though you’re the “bad seed” you get the attention over the “good seed.”
Tim Duncan played his first NBA basketball game for the San Antonio Spurs way back in 1997. Tim Duncan might play his last basketball game for the San Antonio Spurs in 2013. He has won 4 NBA Championships (’99, ’03, ’05, ’07). He was the League MVP in back-to-back seasons in ’01 & ’02. Of his 16 years in the league he is a 14-time all-star. Tim Duncan’s consecutive All-Star game appearance streak is longer by years than most Heat fans are in age. Since joining the Spurs in ’97, he’s been part of a remarkable 15 playoff runs. Where, it should be mentioned, his team has been bounced in the first round only twice. If his career would end this year, he would finish 9th all time in player efficiency rating.
Lebron James played his first NBA basketball game for the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2003. He was a highly publicized talent long before he slapped his hands together in a chalky “Poof” while entering the court. In his ten seasons in the league he has been an All-Star 9 times only missing in his rookie year. Lebron’s teams have been to the playoffs 8 times and have never been bounced in the first round. He is a 4-time league MVP with 1 championship through his first 9 seasons. Will he win his 2nd this year? If Lebron were to retire this year, he would finish 2nd all time in player efficiency rating.
Why do we hope for greatness, when greatness has been starting us in the face for the last 16 years? And perhaps now, for the final time.
Like the bad seed of the family, the noisemaker, the Danny vs Arnold in Twins, the loudest bark gets told to shut up at night. But it doesn’t necessarily mean you’re the baddest dog in the neighborhood.
Lebron James is superhuman. He’s a linebacker playing with punters at times on the basketball court. When he wants to, it seems he can’t be stopped. There is no denying his talent and his potential. But why are we so wrapped up in James’ potential when Duncan has been putting forth not just potential, but results for close to two decades now? Duncan will not be in the arguments of “thee best” to ever play the game. He deserves to go down as “one of” the greatest ever to play however. Has he had good coaching? Sure. Good playmates? Sure. That doesn’t always equal a championship. Ask Lebron. Ask Paul Pierce. Ask Kobe.
My point is that as we watch a dynamic NBA Finals between two for sure future hall of famers, let us sit back and not bask in potential; but admire what has been, and is great.