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Blog: Why NBA Championships Mean Nothing For An Individual

(June 17, 2014 - Source: Chris Covatta/Getty Images North America)
(June 17, 2014 – Source: Chris Covatta/Getty Images North America)

In this day and age, it is very common for people to grasp onto any NBA all-star player and compare their careers to another player.

People like to Cleveland Cavaliers’ point forward LeBron James to former Chicago Bulls’ shooting guard like Michael Jordan. People like to compare Los Angeles Lakers’ shooting guard Kobe Bryant to Jordan. Some people like to compare Los Angeles Clippers’ point Chris Paul to Hall-of-Fame point guard John Stockton.

The comparisons never end and that is what makes it fun from time to time. However, understand that when talking about legacies, it is all subjective. Championships are not the greatest deciding factor when comparing NBA talent with another.

In the climate of today’s social media-driven era of instant gratification era, people make it a mission these days to almost ignore the talent and production of an individual player and by that token those same people use only championship rings.

Other people have actually said Miami Heat power forward Chris Bosh is better than all-time great Jazz power forward Karl Malone because Bosh has championship rings. What a joke.

Others have actually said Bryant just needs one more ring to be on equal footing with Jordan despite the fact that Jordan never played with a Hall-of-Fame center in Shaquille O’Neal like Bryant did and Bryant wasn’t even the NBA Finals MVP when he won his first-three championships.

It seems popular these days to just look at rings and just make quick decision on which player is better than one another and those who do so never consider that fact that one player may have played with better talent around them compared to the other player in question who didn’t.

Let’s take Malone and compare him with San Antonio Spurs’ power forward Tim Duncan. Now, many people consider Duncan to be the greatest power forward of all-time because he has five rings while Malone never won a ring. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion.

In defense of Malone, he only had one legitimate all-star player to build chemistry with in his 18-year career with the Utah Jazz and that person is Stockton.

Malone didn’t have the luxury of taking nights off over the course of a regular season with the Jazz the way Duncan has in recent years with the Spurs. If Malone took a night off, the Jazz most likely would have lost that game. The Jazz clearly didn’t have the depth despite having Stockton on their side as well.

The Spurs however, have had a deep roster and have proven time and time again that they can survive without Duncan for certain stretches as the Spurs claimed their fifth NBA championships with Duncan in the fold.

Now this isn’t to say that Duncan is more or less valuable than Malone was with the Jazz. This is saying more along the lines of people needing to do their research about why Duncan is better than Malone not just claiming Duncan to be better because he has more rings. It doesn’t make any sense especially considering the fact that Duncan is 0-2 in his career when facing off with Malone in the playoffs.

Malone had to carry his team night in and night out. From 1987-2003, Malone led the Jazz in scoring each year and scoring 20 points per game in each of those years as well. Duncan has never been the scorer Malone was and never will be.

Duncan doesn’t have to. He’s a legend in his own right in which he dominated with his defense and rebounding like no other power forward in history.

The debate between players should be more about their personal talent and production. It shouldn’t always be about championships because players can’t pick and choose who they want to play with.

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Robert D. Cobb
Founder, Publisher and CEO of INSCMagazine. Works have appeared and featured in places such as Forbes, Huffington Post, ESPN and NBC Sports to name a few. Follow me on Twitter at @RobCobb_INSC, email me at [email protected]

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