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Daily Commentary for 2022-03-08

What the Steel Curtain and Showtime Had in Common by Chris Marlow

I was at a party last weekend and I found myself discussing sports with some other guys I had never met. I live in Wilmington, Delaware, which is only about 30 miles from Philadelphia, so most of the guys were Philadelphia sports fans. I mentioned I was a Steelers fans, which was OK, as Pittsburgh (or Baltimore) are reasonable secondary teams for whom to rout.

However, all of them were surprised to hear I also was a Lakers fan. How could I support a 'blue collar' team-first group like the Steelers, and still support a "look-at-me" collection like the 'Hollywood' Lakers? For the most part, it is easy, I said -- they are really the same thing.

In Pittsburgh, the quarterback, the running back are not the most popular players. Sure, Steeler fans appreciate Bradshaw and Roethlisburger, but they are not the ones Steeler fans cheer for the most. Instead, is the players who consistently put the team first. Pittsburgh is a place where an offensive guard like Alan Faneca or a nose tackle like Hampton would on the same level as a wide receiver like Hines Ward. Players who spill their guts out on every play are worshipped in Pittsburgh, unlike (forgive my sanctimony) extremely talented, but self-absorbed players like Randy "I play when I feel like it" Moss.

Now, I am not going to tell you that every Steeler is a model of teamwork and humility, and I certainly hope that others would believe the same of their own team. Rather, I buy into the idea the Steelers have emphasized over the past four decades that every player must devote themselves to the team to remain part of that team.

So, do the Lakers meet all of those goals. Well, the NBA is somewhat different in that, with far fewer players, 'stars' (which are inherently individual) are a bigger factor than the NFL. And yet, the reason I started watching the NBA was because of a team-first guy, Magic Johnson. If you follow basketball at all, let me ask you this question -- when was the last time you watched a game because you wanted to watch someone PASS the ball? Can you imagine someone telling you that you had to watch a football game because of the offensive line blocking or how the quarterback handed off the ball?

The NBA is about scoring, yet when I started watching the game in the 80s it was about Magic Johnson, the guy who could score, rebound, pass, and play any position on the court. Did Laker fans talk about Magic's big scoring nights? No!!! They talked about the beautiful pass or the big rebounds he made.

In short, when I began to love the game, it was for the ability of a star to make teamwork exciting. I now defer to all of those who claim Michael Jordan was the 'greatest' basketball player, because they are infatuated by the individual who could do so much alone, but the only player I truly loved to watch was the guy who made teamwork the best part of the game.


  • It so much easier to want to pass to when you have very talented to players to pass to. I would enjoy passing also if I could to pass to Jabbar instead of Dave Corzine or Bill Cartwright -- who had trouble just catching passes. Once Jordan had talent around him, he was actually better than Magic at making his teammates perform at a higher level. Go watch the Bulls 4-1 dismantling of the Lakers in the 91 finals and you will say to yourself: Why was there ever a debate who was better -- Jordan or Magic? It was so obvious that Jordan was better when the series was over. Jordan was the greatest player ever no matter what standard you use and it is very clear.
    Posted by mdh88

Past Commentaries

Look out Jordan -- Here Comes Lebron!
What the Steel Curtain and Showtime Had in Common by Chris Marlow
Why We should All Listen to Bob Cousy's Opinion about the Greatest Players Ever by Mark D. Hauser
6-OXO, Next to be Banned by MLB? By Sally Solomon
Why the Lebron/Kobe Debate is the Best Sport's Debate in the World by Mark D. Hauser
Are Statisitics becoming too Important in Sports? by Mark D. Hauser
Perpetually Bad by Chris Marlow

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