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The Guilfordian

The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

The Million Dollar Babies

Players like Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, Wilt Chamberlain, Shaquille O’Neal, and LeBron James will go down in history as some of the greatest athletes to ever play ball. However, in 50 years the teams they played for will be irrelevant.Teams in the NBA are treated on a player-to-player basis and not as a whole. This seems ridiculous. Michael Jordan brought the Chicago Bulls into the spotlight when he played and now they have lost a chunk of the celebrity status they once had.

I am not ashamed to say that I love Kobe. He is one of the greatest players to ever grace the court. In 2006 he was 19 points away from beating Wilt Chamberlain’s record of 100 points in a single game and no one can deny that’s pretty incredible.

I will admit that he participated in some shady activity but we give players like him, and LeBron “King James,” a godly status by giving them stupid nicknames, buying the junk they advertise, or buying a shoe that someone printed their names on.

According to, Bryant, O’Neal, James and Dwayne Wade are four of the top 10 endorsement earners in the country. James gets $25 million of his yearly income from endorsement deals. In 1997 Jordan earned more from his sponsors than any player with $47 million.

The more points a player scores and the more professional attention he receives, the more companies want to advertise through him. This is how players like James get crowned the “King” by adoring fans.

The fact that a player can add an extra $10 million to their salary by being selfish and getting points or seeing as much court time as possible does not really lead to a team mentality. It keeps the top players on their throne and leaves the others to stand in the giants’ shadows.

If you look at career stats for All-Star basketball players, the media will say that they “carried” or “led” a team. When the Los Angeles Lakers win a game Kobe is always interviewed. He is the face of the Lakers, for better or worse.

This past summer, James had NBA teams clambering to sign him as a free agent. There was an entire ESPN special on his search for a team, which is the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard.
Basketball is the one of the few sports where one or two players can shine and leave the rest of the team behind. This is especially true when money and celebrity get involved.

This is not to say that there aren’t athletes in other sports that are better known than others. For instance, football has Peyton Manning, baseball has Derek Jeter, etc. The only thing that keeps other leagues playing with team mentality is that it is much harder to win a game with one good player.

Jeter may be indispensable to the Yankees but without his teammates scoring runs and aiding in plays in the field, his talent wouldn’t be appreciated to the same extent. This is the same for many other sports as well.

I don’t want to give the impression that other athletes are not arrogant and sketchy, because they pull the same stunts off the field that NBA players do. It is just an interesting fact that NBA players get more credit on an individual basis and less as a team.

We can all get mad that these athletes do whatever they want, get away with anything, and make money in the millions without lifting a finger, but inevitably we are the ones that give them this attitude and power.

When Kobe is involved in a rape scandal, we put him in the position to feel that he could get away with it. When “King James” leads numerous teams on to see who will give him the most money, and which players he will get to line up with; that was us as well. And when Jordan makes close to half a billion dollars off of Air Jordans and Hanes, you get the idea.

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