One of the many complaints about the NBA is that its players aren’t as unique or attention-grabbing as they once were, and, as a result, the league isn't as entertaining as it once was.
That complaint has some legitimacy.
There aren’t anymore players averaging triple-doubles, guys shattering backboards with thunderous dunks, people finger rolling from five or more feet out, or any 6’9” point guards running around.
There really aren’t as many stand-out personalities either.
Tim Duncan, as great as he is, has a personality as plain as a Bologna sandwich, and Steve Nash is as squeaky clean and virtuous as the Vatican.
Even amongst the very top of the league, guys like Kobe Bryant and Dwyane Wade will likely be remembered for what they do on the court, not off of it.
None of them have Magic Johnson’s aura, Jordan’s, flair or Moses Malone’s boastfulness.
That’s part of the reason why my father stopped watching years ago. Anytime he’s talking about the game, he always talks about how turned off he is by current players’ arrogance and by their overall singularity.
Who knows? If I were a bit older and I’d experienced those years, maybe I’d partially agree, but the point I’m making is that we can’t have our cake and eat it too.
For years we looked down on Dennis Rodman as he’d dominate the boards the way few other forwards have ever come close at night and wear wedding gowns during the day.
We’d mock Rodman as he’d dye his hair in every assorted color of the rainbow or dress up like a drag queen, but few of us ever considered that his actions may have been a cry for help.
Regardless of his intentions, no one really batted an eye as the Hall of Fame passed over him year after year after year.
How can the Hall of Fame committee justify passing over Rodman, a five-time NBA champion, two-time defensive player of the year and seven-time rebounding champion because of the attire the man wears off the court?
Look, I get it.
Rodman isn’t “normal.” He’s not the guy you’d want hosting a children’s show, and he isn't the most marketable athlete in the history of professional sports.
I just didn’t realize that any of those were prerequisites to reaching the Hall.
If Rodman hadn’t won those rings, maybe there’d be an argument. If his joining Jordan and Scottie Pippen in Chicago didn’t lead to the best regular season of all time, maybe there’d be an argument.
But there isn’t.
When I was a kid, my dad would always make me finish everything on my plate, vegetables included, before he’d let me ask for more food.
Here we are talking about how vain the players are in today’s league or how unlikeable they are because they “stack the deck in their favor” or because they all act alike.
Yet we have arguably the most unique personality American sports has ever seen in Dennis Rodman, and we lambasted him while he played and we’ve been ignoring him ever since.
For my tastes, that’s just a little hypocritical.