Nowadays I can’t help but reminisce about the old league and its characters. I’ve remember:
The “unique”- Dennis Rodman just said, “F— this. Sometimes I don’t want to get dressed, so I’ll be naked. Sometimes I want to get dressed, but I want to dress like a woman.” He was different and didn’t care who said what.
The real life 40-year old virgin- I don’t know how anyone can win 3 chips and not see ANYTHING. Hell, I even caught Stern with a couple blondies on his arm on a few occasions. Kudos to AC who had such will power and strong beliefs to not be wavered or influenced by anyone. (Also kudos for holding out for a record 38-39 years SHEESH)
“The Answer”- Revolutionized the game in so many ways. He came into the league and just wanted to be who he was- dress like himself, talk like himself, walk like himself, play his game- and it worked. I can’t even think of another player who had crossovers named after him- his little shimmy/dance style of ball handling was pioneering. In parks around the globe you heard, “OOOOOO, he hit you with the AI!!”
…Then if you were serious about your game, you spent hours perfecting your “AI” to hit that same dude that hit you with it. Serious business.
…and the best ever, top grossing sports/animated movie known to man- Others have tried and no shade to them, but it can never be done like Space Jam again. Best thing to do is just pick another lane and try to win in that one. Lamar is trying reality TV, Ron Ron is trying Lifetime movies…anything other than sports animation.
Now that my peers are in the league, what fresh perspective do they present to the league? Who’s putting their stamp on the game in a way that translates off the court as well?
Sure, this generation’s players are considerably more wealthy and are endorsing various products from all over the world; but are the right messages sticking like that of their predecessors?
Take a player like Lebron, who I think had potential to be more marketable than Jordan was back in his day. When I think Lebron, I don’t think about McDonalds, Bubbilicious or Glaceau. I automatically think “The Decision” therefore he’s not that likable.
At the same time, Kobe is my favorite player in the league but when I think Kobe, I don’t think Vitamin Water, Guitar Hero, or Nubeo. I think about that charge that he caught back in the day, therefore he’s not that likable.
Kevin Durant is the league’s best player with the most wholesome image. Derrick Rose is a close second.
Can KD become this generation’s Jordan, though? I say, yes. Minus the sneaker game. Jordan wins, indefinitely.
I think he’s more likable, is still developing as a player and he seems to be doing everything he should be doing- and avoiding what he should, too. Here are a few of the things I think KD needs to do in order to “win”:
1. W-I-N. When it’s all said and done, people respect winners.
2. Don’t marry a stripper. It’s cool in the urban community, still taboo everywhere else.
3. Stay clean. Dress well, keep his hair cut- no one likes a scruffy looking black man.
4. Stay humble, be passionate. Jordan was a jerk off camera but no one really knew until later. He cried, played when he was on his death bed, played that historic game after his father passed away- he constantly oozed with passion for the game.
5. Continue winning the kids over. The kids need a wholesome player to emulate. If you win the kids, you win their mothers. If you win mothers, you win the fathers. Win families, you appeal to a HUGE number of people.
KD can be big, guys. Bigger than Jordan. The first and most important thing he has to do is win.
Again, Derrick Rose can still sneak up from behind him and win in a big way if he returns and the Bulls win. His likability definitely shot up with his Adidas campaign.
It’s going to be interesting to see how this plays out. The first one who wins a championship will be the winner.