So, what is it about certain guys?
I was a kid of the 90s. My first series I remember watching was Bulls-Blazers. I never liked MJ, maybe I'm anti pop-stars. Like Tom Brady, MJ gave me no choice but to love greatness. When you see MJ hit big shot after big shot, never lose, you have no choice but to fall in love with that swag. I still have never bought a pair of Jordans (I think its silly to obsess over someone that much that you buy his shoes), but I literally can't say anything about the guy maximizing himself.
After MJ it was Shaq. Another guy I didn't like at first, came in with hype but got swept by Hakeem (only in his second year or third year and made the finals..impressive, with the Knicks still there after MJ exited). I was a Hakeem and Duncan guy (skill)...Shaq to me was just a bowling ball. But look at his minutes in 2001 Finals. Look at the way a guy that size ran the floor. I feel bad for kids that are 20 - 25 that never got to see prime Shaq. Shaq demanded that ball...and (this is where Embiid needs to improve), was a great passer. Shaq knew when the doubles and triples were coming, and knew when to pass it out. Still my complaint about Embiid which continued in the Hawks series. Shaq literally left guys like Vlade Divac and Scott Pollard (top 5 facial hairs) helpless. Shaq was limited in skill but made up for it with size strength and athleticism. Undeniable force. But Shaq wasn't the complete package with the skill moves, to me it never mattered.
After Shaq it was Kobe. Kobe to me, was a ball-hog and not in the same level as Shaq and MJ, who were without a doubt alphas of the league. Kobe had his career tailor-made. Go to LA and play with Shaq...easy three rings as the second fiddle. When he won his other two, although beating the Suns and Spurs of that era was impressive with his rag-tag guys...he wasn't going through Stockton-Malone, or even the Blazers-Kings teams from his run with Shaq...but the league was weak. I mean, Lamar Odom as your second guy is kind of weak. The Celtics team he beat was solid....but to me, Kobe, RIP, was always about himself. Again his career was tailor-made...that trade for Pau Gasol was so whack...NBA cleared the roads for Kobe it seemed. And in his later years, he was simply a gunner. In much of his late career Dwayne Wade was the superior guard....BUTTT, having said that, I still watch Kobe youtube Highlights like I did in 2012 when Kobe vs MJ arguments were alive. Kobe was probably the most-skilled out of all the guys in this list. He did it all, and with flair. He dropped 81 it was awesome. His streak of 40 point games was incredible. And his final game dropping 61, was like a "love of baksetball ode" for fans. There's this one Youtube video of Kobe vs TMac...i'd say TMac was equally skilled, but simply Tmac didn't have the dog in him that Kobe-did. And the video shows Kobe going into dog-mode. Being a local kid, I still whenever driving by Lower Merion say "yeah thats Kobe's house". I also, respect Kobe the killer. I've hooped at Narberth (not htat I'm any good), but its nice to see that Kobe in 2001 came back, with the killer mentality he learned growing up in Philly. Him celebrating like the rest of us when the Eagles won, and unfortunately his early death, makes me recognize the greatness of Kobe. But he'll always be a ball-hog to me slightly overhyped and a guy that coudln't make a "team better". yeah he won, but he didn't have the presence of MJ, Shaq, Duncan to make everyone around him better. Kobe was great but more on an individual level than a "leader of men as the guy" kind of player.........
Two more guys...
Carmelo. One of the most "polarizing" stars. This is a guy who is clearly not in the same league as the above three. Mentioning him for a good reason. He's an unbelievable individual scorer. But to me, overhyped because basketball is a lot more than scoring, you want to be great, its still 5v5, figure out how to win as a team with your guys. It pains me that he gets the media-attention. Carmelo is NOT in the same league as Lebron, who I'll get to. Carmelo's game has never changed. He's an "iso-guy". When the ball got to him, it stopped. Not exactly Steve Nash type of flow to the game on the Nuggets. He never made any of his teammates better. He never knew when to get his teammates involved or lead them. But still, it was "Carmelo is going to the Knicks" and to this day there is this respect for Carmelo. Undeserved media attention. "Carmelo refuses to take bench role", well, who the hell is he? He hasn't won, and he's a ball-hog. There are many great scorers in the NBA, especially today with relaxed rules, but literally thats all he was, and he never led his teams, but still got so much media attention. What is Carmelo known for besides scoring? And yet, bball guys like StephenASmith still can't stop hyping him...I never hear people call him out for "failing to make his teammates better"...he's the prime-example of that type of player...Kobe was like that but again, I feel Kobe's career was tailor made for him and Kobe still had that european influence to his game.
Which brings me to Lebron. Probably one of the most polarizing athletes ever to this day. I have him as my third best player ever, but I still can't put him up there with Shaq and MJ. To me he's better than Shaq, but not as an alpha hooper. Obviously can't get over "the decision" and he started the "player empowerment" era that Ben Simmons is making a mockery of....Lebron is an incredible basketball player. If Kobe had his career tailor-made by the NBA, Lebron tailor-made his own NBA career. Going from team to team and then engineering who you play with, got to ridiculous levels including this year. He's so desperate to be recognized with the Brady and Jordans of the world...but he is not that and the way he "decided" his NBA path is why. One of the smartest, combined with great passing, and incredible athleticism. BUTTT, it used to annoy me when he came into the league as "Magic and Mike" but took so many shots. I thoguht the passing wizard at all-star games was shooting that ugly 3 way too much...but over time that ugly 3 has been undeniablly effective. Its still ugly, he'll never have the stroke of Kobe or the MJ fade-away....to me the greatest game Lebron ever played, was when the Durant-Westbrook Thunder made the finals and were going to win before Lebron ever won...Lebron faced the Celtics...and WENT TO THE POST, and obliterated and annihilated them...and I always thoguht....this is where this guy is elite. But, HE NEVER WENT BACK to the post. In fact...like Ben Simmons who failed to post up Trae Young, Lebron never posted up Steph Curry in the finals. Oh yeah, as great as Lebron is...as an ALPHA, there has always been something missing. MJ wanted the ball in big spots and controlled it, Shaq wanted the ball with the game down to the wire...Lebron in game 7s, many times (he may be tired because he does so much, but still the great ones find the chi), has always passed the ball away. Lebron doesn't score in the big spots, but he defers to guys like Kyrie. He won't call for the iso and get the bucket himself...thats just not him. And thats fine btw, but you can't be compared to Shaq and MJ then...so Lebron's career, his inability to maximize himself by being the alpha taking over games scoring big buckets like Shaq and MJ, is what sets him apart. Yeah I know he's brilliant at basketball with that athleticism and mind...but he's slightly deficient in skill and always relies on other teammates...to the point where its become laughable.
MJ did it himself in Chicago with Pippen. Shaq ate himself out of my "Mt Rushmore". Kobe had his career tailor-made to be the MJ-heir. (Duncan was the real champion of that era) and Lebron made a mockery of the league by "joining" super-teams to chase MJ. And Carmelo is overhyped and is everything I hate about the NBA manufacturing stars out of guys that can't win but still want all the attention. When Carmelo went to the Knicks, and they sucked...I wasn't surprised at all...the dude doesn't know how to play team basketball...if you compare Duncan to Carmelo its laughable.
Anyways 1500 words later...some guys force you to appreciate their greatness. I will always take Kobe and Lebron's careers with a grain of salt...but yeah, a little explanation on why I don't like certain guys. What about you?
MJ and Shaq I will never deny their greatness.
Kobe and Lebron careers will always be tainted.
Carmelo freakin sucks. I can name so many power forwards I love over him.
Lebron is a combination of