First off, I’m not a Kobe fan, but I can’t ignore the fact that he is one of the most gifted and driven basketball players in NBA history. Sadly I think he’s the last real superstar in the league.
By “superstar” I mean those players who are able to take over a game and lead their team to winning championships. Players like: Bill Russell, Michael Jordan, Larry Bird, Isaiah Thomas, and Magic Johnson. These guys live to win and winning championships took priority over everything else. Superstars are leaders and losing is never an option.
Today we have a league with numerous guys who have the physical capabilities and talent of becoming superstars, but because they are far more interested in their celebrity, they fall short of reaching their full potential as an athlete and winning championships.
LeBron James is probably one of the most physically dominant and athletic players the league has seen in years, but he just doesn’t have the same heart, grit, and focus guys like Jordan, Thomas and Bird played with. What’s sad is that for LeBron James, basketball comes second to well….LeBron James. Dwight Howard is another example of a player who is physically dominant and ridiculously gifted, but will fall short of being one of the greatest. The stars of today are just soft in comparison to the superstars that came before them.
I’m not against players marketing themselves and having larger than life personalities, Jordan was all about branding his name, but when celebrity overshadows your drive and focus to win you will always fall short of being one of the greatest.
Is there hope in finding another superstar? I really hope so. Guys like Kevin Durant and Derrick Rose are hopefuls, but only time will tell.