All the talk about the current state of NBA players and the moves teams are making in the off season are typical for this time of year. The NBA draft is over and teams are making changes within the coaching and other management staff. While most of the moves are business related, a larger focus has been the moves players are making to get the teams they want, or to play with the players they want. This trend highlights a bigger issue: the shift of the focus from the team to the players. 

Yes, all teams have a “front man”- the star, the playmaker who draws fans and foes alike for his skills on the court. While this is not new to basketball, the shift from being a popular player to an athlete and celebrity not only changes the player dynamic, it also changes the team dynamic. Now it seems that players have more power to leverage not only their skills and talents, but their celebrity in deciding where they want to go and being more vocal about who they want to play with.

This concept was virtually unheard of “back in the day”. Yes, teams wanted good players so they build a championship team. These days, teams are having to buy those players, and have the team built around them. That makes cohesion difficult, at best and polarizes players when the teams aren’t doing well.

I think the last great “team” in the NBA may have been seen this year with the San Antonio Spurs. Yes, they have Tony Parker and Tim Duncan, but in the grand scheme of things they’re not the biggest names in the game, yet they have a system of playing solid, fundamental basketball that works. They are a true team, and it showed this year.

I don’t think there’s anything wrong with NBA players having a form of celebrity, but when it starts to overshadow the team, it can be problematic. 

No one should be bigger than the team.

What do you think?

Your Jersey Girlfriend, 

~Angela Davis