Through sheer luck, I was able to attend Michael Jordan’s final NBA game.
Comparing eras is futile, so let’s celebrate the Greatest Of Their Era
The great thing about sports is that results are objective. There are won-loss records, tournaments, playoffs, and championships. The winner is decided on the field of play.
Of course, that doesn’t mean there aren’t subjective debates. Quite the contrary. The never ending sports debates all come down to one question: Who is the best? Who’s the best player? What was the toughest era? What’s the best team? Could the best team from a prior era beat the top squad from today’s game?
Three is more than two.
That simple mathematical fact, which had been largely overlooked for decades, has completely changed the National Basketball Association. Today’s game is nothing but guys shooting from deep. There’s no more to it than that.
The 2023 NBA Draft is shaping up to be one of the rare instances in which there are multiple prizes.
In fact, experts are saying that this draft class may even have four or five players that could help transform a franchise. However, there is an absolute consensus that Victor Wenbanyama and Scoot Henderson should go first and second in the draft, respectively.
While Wenbanyama appears to be a generational talent and is the most hyped prospect since LeBron James, Henderson would be the top pick in almost any other year, so whatever team ends up in the second spot will have a hell of a consolation prize.
Still, that team should be wary. Rarely do the top two picks end up being the two best players in that class.
In fact, it has not happened more than five times since 1960. Five times in sixty years.
To sports columnists and talking heads of a certain age, the word “analytics” has become a pejorative, a shorthand for nerds that are so engrossed in their algorithms that they can’t see the actual game being played on the court.
The truth, as always, is far more complex.
I Love JJ Redick
The Dukie everyone loved to hate is now a popular — and terrific! — TV analyst and podcaster. No one would have predicted this 15 years ago.
My first regular writing gig was for a website that was based in Baltimore. I transitioned into a contributor after starting as an unlikely reader. I wasn’t from that area and did not know anyone associated with the site. I most likely would never have found it had the site not had such a catchy and memorable name: I Hate JJ Redick.
I Love the NBA All-Star Game
I began playing organized basketball at the age of six. As a third grader, I was with the fifth and sixth graders; in fifth grade, I was playing with the middle school kids. I continued playing through my senior year of high school.
Here’s a riddle: When is losing the best way to win?
The answer, for a long time, was the NBA Draft, as teams that lost – sometimes purposely – were rewarded with a chance to choose the best players coming into the league.
I’ve Always Rooted for Players Over Teams
“Loyalty to any one sports team is pretty hard to justify, because the players are always changing, the team can move to another city. You’re actually rooting for the clothes, when you get right down to it. You are standing and cheering and yelling for your clothes to beat the clothes from another city. Fans will be so in love with a player, but if he goes to another team, they boo him. This is the same human being in a different shirt; they hate him now. Boo! Different shirt! Boo!”Jerry Seinfeld
I grew up a Michael Jordan superfan. Not just a fan, a superfan. I had his posters and pictures all over my walls, stacks of his Fleer and Skybox cards in my collection, and collected everything I could, from Starting Lineup figures to Wheaties boxes.
“Who is the best NBA player to never win an MVP award?”