It has been some time since I have had a debate with another sports enthusiast like myself, and came out at the end with a new outlook or perspective on the topic at hand. I have held discussions, debates, arguments, analysis, deliberation, conversations, or whatever you would like to call it with countless people. I have talked about sports with my best friends, family members, and strangers alike. We have discussed everything from the game of basketball, to the draft choices in the upcoming NFL Draft, all the way to what matters more to athletes; personal accolades or championships. And the only consensus that I have come to in over a decade of sports related debate is that no one is right, and no one is wrong.
It seems relatively simple, “you’re not right, but you’re not wrong”, doesn’t it? However, it is not as universally thought that way as it should be.
For example, I personally believe that championships are what matter most to athletes, no matter what the sport; basketball, football, baseball, track & field, speed skating, and even curling. I do not believe it matters the level of competition whether it be professional basketball in the NBA or a state high school basketball tournament. It could be an amateur speed 토토사이트 skating competition in Salt Lake City, or the Olympic Games in Vancouver. Wherever the competition is held and no matter the level of opposition, every athlete strives to be the best. The only way to prove you are in fact the best is to be the last one/team standing. That is why you see so many athletes towards the latter half of their respective careers looking for the elusive “ring” or “title”. We see it all of the time; Karl Malone going to the Los Angeles Lakers in the 2003-2004 season in an attempt to win a title, something he never accomplished in his career. He lost in the 2004 Finals to the Detroit Pistons, and consequently retired. This was an athlete who had nothing left to prove; he is first in all-time defensive rebounds, second on the all-time scoring list behind Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, recorded a record eleven consecutive seasons in which he scored at least 2,000 points, and was named to 14 NBA All-Star games. He won the NBA Most Valuable Player Award in 1997 and 1999, but none of that means anything until you win that “ring”. He retired following the 2003-2004 season without ever winning an NBA Championship Title. Not having an NBA Championship is a common asterisk next to many NBA Hall of Famers, and it is something I believe separates the “greats” from the “elite”. Michael Jordan, arguably the most recognizable name in all of sports, won six NBA Championships; Bill Russell won a record eleven rings in his thirteen NBA seasons; and the well-traveled Robert Horry won seven with three different teams. So when you compare the title won by just those three players to other greats who never won a title it is slightly astounding to say the least.
My roommate and good friend would disagree with my feelings towards athletes and their motivations. He declares for example that even though LeBron James has never won a championship title he is still the best player on the Miami Heat, where as I respectively disagree. I would argue that title should be left to his teammate Dwayne Wade, who won an NBA Championship back in 2006. I base this not purely on skill set, because if we were debating such I would agree with my roommate, instead who has gone out and proven they are in fact the best. Has LeBron James won consecutive NBA Most Valuable Player Awards, yes, has he been named to seven All-Star games in just eight seasons, yes, but he has never won an NBA Championship. At what point do personal accolades take president to the ultimate goal of becoming a champion?
The point I am attempting to make is that I am not right, but I am also not wrong. Personal opinion and analysis is something that I believe makes sports so interesting. The athletics involved are obviously the focal point, as they should be, but the intangible factors deserve as much recognition as anything else.
For example, me being from Chicago, I am a die-hard Chicago Bears fan and consequently hate our biggest rival, the Green Bay Packers. I have never had any more reason to hate the Packers other than the fact they are our biggest and oldest of rivals, dating back to when they first met back in 1921. But it is relationships such as that that create some of the excitement of the game.