“I don’t care that he talks about LeBron,” Maverick Carter told ESPN.com. “He could say he’s not that good or the greatest in the world as a basketball player. I wouldn’t care. It’s the word ‘posse’ and the characterization I take offense to. If he would have said LeBron and his agent, LeBron and his business partners or LeBron and his friends, that’s one thing. Yet because you’re young and black, he can use that word. We’re grown men.”
I always find comments about “egos” in discussions regarding college basketball players fascinating. Most of these guys have spent greater part of a decade playing on AAU/Traveling teams that are essentially All-Star quads, so why would playing with a bunch of McDonalds All-Americans be all that different?
Here is LeBron James with a recent example of the effusive praise of John Calipari’s ability to manage egos:
“What I admire is how he’s able to take, year after year, these high egos coming out of high school and turn it into a team,” James said of Calipari. “He makes them believe, not even believe, it’s what it should be, that the team is more important than the individual. No matter who you are, no matter where you come from, in order for the team to have success everyone has to buy in.
Calipari does deserve some credit, as does any coach, but his ability to manage his player’s egos does not seem particularly unique. Rather Calipari’s success seems to lie mostly in getting talented players to embrace the challenge of earning playing time on as close to an approximation of an NBA roster you’ll find in college ball.
And it’s not like this is all that new. Take a look back at how many lottery picks were on those UNC & Duke teams of the 90s for example. Or the in the 80s when UNC had Jordan, Sam Perkins and James Worthy on the same roster.
Moreover, why does Calipari rarely get credit for developing players like Willie Cauley-Stein, Malcolm Lee, the Harrison twins, or Dakari Johnson? While people are focusing in one his “one and done” players, Calipari is developing a quality core of upperclassmen who provide the experience and resiliency often needed to overcome challenges and mentor Calipari’s highly touted freshmen.
I’m still holding out hope that Cleveland is repackaging Baron Davis in another deal before Thursday’s deadline, and that this trade is only part one of a larger deal. Maybe they’re sending Davis to the Mavericks, Portland, Memphis or any playoff contender who can use Davis. After all, there’s no way that this Davis & Cleveland pairing will end well. Davis has proven himself as a player who needs a playoff race in order to play well. He does not suffer losing well at all, and if there’s anything the Cavs have excelled at this season, it’s losing.
The irony of this trade (for me at least) is this is the exact kind of deal that I thought the Cavs needed to pull off while Lebron was in town. I advocated for bringing in Davis to play with Lebron because Davis plays well in the playoffs, is unafraid to take big shots, and would be willing to defer to Lebron for three quarters, and then take over the reins in the fourth when Lebron begins fading. Plus, can you imagine a more physically imposing backcourt than Davis & Lebron? Yes, I know Anthony Parker usually played SG, but in reality, Lebron was more of the pg, Williams the off-guard and Parker the small forward in most of Cleveland’s offensive sets. Lebron & Davis working the high low would’ve masked Cleveland’s lack of low post scoring and created tons of easy shots for their spot up shooters.
This appears to be a trade for trade’s sake as my friend KJF might say, and one just as idiotic from the Clippers perspective. Really, the last thing that Blake Griffin and the rest of the Clippers needed was an influx of more second-tier perimeter talent, and a lead guard who struggles incorporating others into the offense.
I know this is mad late, but earlier this month Next American City allowed me to share my thoughts on the Lebron saga. Here’s a snippet:
But unlike a new stadium deal, for example, James is at least guaranteed to bring a initial boost in revenue without taxpayers taking on greater liabilities as they would with a much larger venture like a new stadium. However, as another ballyhooed free-agent signing in this decade—the Orlando Magic’s 2001 enlistment of Tracey McGrady and Grant Hill—revealed, things don’t work out as planned. Neither Hill nor McGrady finished their contracts with Orlando, and the Magic never advanced past the first round in the three years these two played together. Moreover as William Rhoden, author of Forty Million Dollar Slaves: The Rise Fall and Redemption of the Black Athlete, might attest: given this nation’s history with slavery, there’s something disconcerting about a “bidding war” for a black male athlete.