As a collective, the NBA fan is drawn toward the notion of player legacies. From our own musings on Chasing 23 to Bill Simmons’ Pyramid of Greatness, it is all too tempting to draw comparisons between players and what an individual player’s legacy ultimately is. However, how often in these cases does the story write itself before the actions already occur? Is it possible for two players to have the exact same statistics, but different circumstance cause their legacies to be polar opposites? Of course it is. It happens all the time. Noam Schiller, of Hardwood Paroxysm, writes an insightful article questioning the notion of the NBA legacy and how our own perceptions affect our opinions of the players we watch.
A quick excerpt:
“It is impossible to pinpoint a single reason as to why we watch NBA basketball. In such a seemingly objective world – one team wins, 29 teams lose – there is nothing but abject subjectivity. From the team for which we root, to the team that we hate, to the special tingly feeling we get inside whenever something that shouldn’t happen inevitably happens, the entire mechanism is only driven by what we feel for it. The history books say that the Los Angeles Lakers won the title in 2010. Noam Schiller says that Serge Ibaka blocked 7 shots in a playoff game without actually learning how to play basketball, that the Atlanta Hawks feared the Bogut-less deer for 7 disgustingly awful yet delightfully marvelous games, that Goran Dragic single-handedly obliterated the best-run franchise in sports, that the Celtics rose from the ashes…”