Friday, November 09, 2012

Is Being "The Man" Worth It?

Barnabas Piper writes:
In a superstar-driven league like the National Basketball Association it is a big deal when a star player switches teams. Just before this young NBA season began, the Oklahoma City Thunder traded one of their “big three,” James Harden, to the Houston Rockets. Harden is a burgeoning star and was one of the keys to the Thunder having the most wins in the league last season on their way to the NBA Finals, where they lost to the Miami Heat. Harden was also the third wheel on the team, a sub-star instead of thesuperstar. And on an NBA team, only so many stars get paid the big money and gain the most attention. So Oklahoma City traded him to a team willing to shell out the $85 million Harden’s abilities demand. Now he is “the man” in Houston.
But he is the star on a team with a significantly less chance for success. Instead of being in the running for a championship, the Rockets likely will be scrapping just to make the playoffs, unless Harden is truly transcendent. This situation is not unlike what faced Dwight Howard when he played for the Orlando Magic, or LeBron James when he was with the Cleveland Cavaliers. While both of them had some success with mediocre surrounding casts, they were ultimately throttled in their efforts to win a championship. And so both of them orchestrated their way to teams with significantly more talent. 
. . .
When the move for individual status and acclaim requires forsaking the very thing the game is played for—a championship—is it worth it?
Read the rest.  

1 comment:

Andrew Faris said...

The principle might stand, but Harden is a bad example. OKC traded Harden after offering him 26 million dollars less than other teams. He didn't just pick up and leave.

This is what kills me about sports fans: we can talk all we want about player loyalty, but where was OKC's loyalty to Harden? He was clearly worth more than 54 mil (where "worth" is "market value"), and yet they didn't want to pay him. And further, I'm not sure I would turn down 26 million dollars. I know 54 is already a lot, but why not take 26 more? There is nothing evil or sinful about taking a raise, even if you already have a lot of money.

If Harden was offered the same amount by both teams and then decided to go to Houston because he wanted to be "the man", he'd be a good example of the point. But in this case, he's not.