Monday, June 13, 2011

Brand Names and Championships

I know it’s considered bad form to celebrate the failure of others, but I can’t help it. I am happy the Miami Heat lost the 2011 NBA Finals.

There. I’ve said it. Light the fires of hell.

I’m happy because I am a sports purist; one who holds on to the quaint notion that great teams are made, not purchased. One who believes a wily general manager scours the draft for cohesive and complementary talent, pulls off a savvy trade or two and voila! A champion is born.

This as opposed to writing checks.

George Steinbrenner forever corrupted professional sports, and for reasons that are far beyond me is roundly celebrated for it. Thanks to him, the commonly-held belief, the aspired-to business model, is he with the most all-stars wins.

And the Miami Heat are merely the NBA’s Steinbrenner knock-off. They’re the Yankees of South Beach. A collection of high-profile players that, on paper, make for a can’t-miss team.

If this were a proven formula, the Yankees (with a payroll that is typically twice that of any other MLB team) would win the World Series every year. Daniel Snyder (Washington Redskins) and Jerry Jones (Dallas Cowboys) would have split the last decade’s Super Bowls.

The Detroit Red Wings would have more Stanley Cups than President’s Trophies. And the 2003/04 Lakers—the team that Gary Payton and Karl Malone joined to form a supposed 82-0 juggernaut with Shaq N’ Kobe—would have won the title going away.

But they didn’t. These chemistry-free undertakings have by and large gone title-less.

In a celebrity-obsessed, brand-name culture such as ours, I suppose this was inevitable. Which only serves to make it more refreshing to see that titles and trophies are still based on chemistry, and not Q indexes.

Enjoy your summer, guys.

1 comment:

  1. I don't have many opinions on sports (go Twins! -- and that may actually explain why, now that I think of it) but I enjoy your writing style!