5 Most Annoying NBA Memes That Will Dominate the 2012-13 Season
The chit-chat surrounding the ever-evolving world of the NBA really doesn't evolve nearly enough.
For all the voices clamoring to be heard, those with something original to say are too often crowded out by self-replicating memes that turn the marketplace of hoops ideas into a monotonous landscape of clichés, hype and sound bytes.
From all things Miami Heat to Linsanity, you'd hardly have noticed there were 28 other teams in the league last season.
With all the attention paid to LeBron James and Kevin Durant, you might have forgotten the San Antonio Spurs and Boston Celtics came insanely close to setting up a very different looking NBA Finals.
In short, there's a fundamental disconnect between what's actually happening in the league and what we usually hear about it. You can blame the media, or you can blame the masses of fans who keep eating it all up but, whoever's at fault, these memes get old fast.
Here are five that are sure to plague this season.
Is LeBron James Proving He's the Greatest of All Time?
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LeBron James is proving what we've already known for years, maybe even since he was in high school.
He is a phenomenal basketball player, and it's hard to find many like him. If you feel the need to say more about how good he is, you're letting the need for a talking point replace the need to be reasonable.
The reason it's so insulting for the pundits to claim LeBron (or Kobe) is as good or better than Michael Jordan isn't that Jordan set some kind of unreachable bar. It's that it just doesn't make much sense to rank guys who are already playing at such a high level.
We know there's a qualitative difference between LeBron James and Dexter Pittman, but comparing LeBron James even to Dwyane Wade is a murkier endeavor.
And that's fine. Some of these grand questions don't need answers.
How Much Longer Will the Lakers Be Kobe's Team?
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The Los Angeles Lakers will remain Kobe Bryant's team so long as Kobe Bryant is on the team.
If Kobe wants to keep playing until he's 50, it will remain his team until he puts away No. 24 for good. It's been that way ever since Shaquille O'Neal left, and Dwight Howard isn't about to change that (no matter how dominantly he plays).
Of course, this kind of question is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the Lakers. The overplayed prompts are endless.
Will the Lakers be as good in reality as they are on paper? Is this the best Lakers team ever? Are they better than the Miami Heat? Can Mike Brown put all his superstar pieces together? Is there enough left in the tank to add another chapter to the dynasty?
Some of the questions are better than others, but let's be honest about this team.
They're obviously going to be very good, but they're not the only very good team in the league. They won't be unbeatable, and their chances in the postseason depend on things like health, rhythm and a little bit of luck—just like any other team with a fighting chance.
Table the hyperbole and endless speculation. We'll know what the Lakers are capable of doing when it's time for them to actually do it.
Are the Spurs and Celtics Too Old?
The San Antonio Spurs and Boston Celtics aren't perfect teams by any means, but nor are they washed up.
The great irony is that those who think their believers are living in the past are far more likely to be the ones living in the past. These teams no longer rise and fall based on the abilities of Tim Duncan and Kevin Garnett to score in the post.
The Spurs play with tempo now, and the Celtics go as Rajon Rondo goes.
These rosters are also younger than you think.
The driving forces (Rondo and Tony Parker) are enjoying the primes of their careers, and the supporting casts are dotted with relatively young up-and-comers like Avery Bradley, Courtney Lee, Jeff Green, Kawhi Leonard, Danny Green, Gary Neal and Tiago Splitter.
One might think that coming so close to the NBA Finals would have put the never-ending doubts to rest. One might even think that the value of experience and institutional knowledge would have itself become an accepted virtue of roster-building wisdom.
Don't count on it. The attention will belong to the Miami Heat, Los Angeles Lakers and Oklahoma City Thunder—at least until the Spurs and Celtics once again prove the reports of their demise were greatly exaggerated.
And by the way, where is the chorus claiming the Lakers are too old?
Will the Clippers Really Contend?
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The Los Angeles Clippers quickly earned a reputation as Lob City, and they never really proved they were much more than a highlight factory—a thrilling first-round success over the Memphis Grizzlies notwithstanding.
As the narrative goes, this should be the season they start to put everything together. They've added Grant Hill's infinite wisdom; they signed a spark-plug in Jamal Crawford; and Chauncey Billups will be healthy again and give Hill's wisdom a run for its money.
Blake Griffin's maturation (or lack thereof) will be one of the most obnoxious stories of all. You just know guys like Zach Randolph are wondering how many car commercials they could have done if they'd just dunked the ball like Griffin.
Overshadowing the whole drama will be looming questions about whether Chris Paul will return this summer.
Here's to hoping he doesn't just so we don't have to hear anything more about how Donald Sterling's team is almost good.
The Bulls Are a Well-Coached Team with a Lot of Fight in Them
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Yes, the Chicago Bulls are indeed a well-coached team and, yes, they have a lot of fight in them.
But even without Derrick Rose, there's also a lot of talent on this roster! The world reacted with shock as the Bulls stayed afloat without their superstar for so much of last season, chalking their success up to just about everything but how good the other guys on this roster were.
Carlos Boozer may not be what he used to be, but he's still one of the more efficient scorers at his position and a capable rebounder. We all know what Joakim Noah and Luol Deng can do.
And if you haven't seen the second unit's Taj Gibson in action, you're missing out.
The rest of the supporting cast will look a bit different this season, but you can expect the same old explanations to emerge.
It couldn't just be that the Bulls' talent is underrated. It has to be that they're overachieving on account of the defensive mad genius that is Tom Thibodeau.