Latest News, NBA / Jul 26, 2011 / 12:30 pm

The Real Reason NBA Teams Win Championships

Mike & Scottie

We believe it. We try to believe it. We want it. We wish for it. We pray for it. We scream for it. We think it’s there. We know it’s there. We aren’t sure if it’s there. And we will never stop searching for it.

You know what the strangest NBA phenomenon is? The elite player, and the misinterpretation everyone has of what actually makes an “elite” player. People have it in their mind that being elite doesn’t necessarily mean winning. To a lot of people – actually, to most people – an elite player averages 25 a night or hits the glass as hard as anyone or puts together All-NBA seasons or makes All-Star teams. They could do that. But here’s the kicker: statistics don’t matter. They really don’t.

We spend years watching and absorbing basketball, and yet it’s a constant mirage. The more hoops we watch, the more often players deceive us. Killers are fleeting. For every 40 miles in the jungle, you might find 450 spider monkeys, 346 cranes, 114 tapirs and one tiger. There’s a reason for all that.

Russell. Bird. Magic. Isiah. MJ. Hakeem. Duncan. Shaq. D-Wade. Kobe. And now Dirk (that felt a little weird). Killers.

Sometimes, you hit the perfect storm of events: a great player that feels underappreciated or pissed off at a career of first round exits or trades. Then the front office catches a couple of breaks, like say landing Rasheed Wallace midseason for nothing, after ‘Sheed endured years of playoff failures. You end up with teams that are completely united, if for only one season, hell bent on a championship, their motives so centered that talent can’t slow them, consumed by trust (Should we put the 2011 Mavs here? I’m torn.).

Normally, a championship is decided by a team, convinced losing is an impossibility, that they are destined to win it all. And it all starts with one leader and one trust.

The best game I was ever a part of, the best game I ever played in, was a season-ending, dream-killing, body-torturing, state tournament, should’ve-been overtime loss my junior year in high school. We were the No. 2 seed, the favorites, probably had the biggest upside of any team in the field (seven of us were legitimate college athletes). We had the home court, had the size inside, had a 16-point halftime lead, had everything you needed to win. We should’ve WALKED away with a W.

But then it all started to unravel. The tempo changed. We were warned all week about the refs – supposedly, one of them was “in the pocket” of the opposing coach. They went way back, had incentives to see each other do well. Up 16, we should’ve known. It was predictable. So the calls started rolling, our coach got into it with first the refs and then some parents (there was about a 20-minute delay where no one was sure what was going on except that people were coming down from out of the stands to throw down). This ended up costing him his job. Our leading scorers hit foul trouble; our younger players were caught up in mental games with the same parents who felt the need to interject themselves into the game (you know the ones I’m talking about…the rich ones who enjoy bullying young teenagers). And I didn’t step up, didn’t really do much of anything.

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  • downtown_brownclown

    just shows that talent isn’t everything, as long as a player aspires for greatness and knows that he have something to prove and has the humility to accept it, then he will be great.

    “individual stats is something, but your teammates’ trust is everything!” There’s no “I” in the word TEAM and there’s no “BIG THREE” against raining threes. :)hehehehe!

  • http://www.gofukurselves.idiots.org Chicagorilla

    great write up Sweeny. The younger generations need to read more articles like this.

    I have a philosophy when i coach. If the game is a blowout, thats more on the players than the coach.
    If the game is close, it’s up to the coach to make the right calls to pull out the win.If you have that special/elite player, your job as a coach becomes much easier because that player will bail you out, but you cant just rely on that.

    Overall, the most difficult teams to coach against are the teams that are well balanced. Because you never know where it’s coming from. And those are the games that makes the team and coach better in the end.

  • http://www.dimemag.com panchitoooo

    LOL@ blame the players for a blowout and not the coach

  • SWAT

    i think the blowout wld be on both the players and the coach-maybe missed defensive adjustments,bad clock mgmt, wrong play calls, just unforced errors (backcourt, silly fouls, turnovers-these fall on the players) who knows exactly when the blow out happens tho-we all hv seen it. teams down by 15 still going hard and come bk to tie it or win it (tmac 13 in 35 seconds to beat the spurs)while others down by 5 or 10 and their hands on their knees heads already down. where is the fault-in the heart or in the head?

    as always sean-DAMN GOOD ARTICLE! i agree with chitown-these young cats should def be reading more articles like this!

  • JAY

    @ Sweeney

    Look like you figured out how to close shit out later in life.

    Article = WIN

  • http://twitter.com/#!/Quiznakes K Dizzle

    Good read.

  • Darius

    one of the best articles I have ever read. great job

  • kyballer312

    Good article. I coached a high school team with a future NBA player and champion a few years ago. He was probably one of the top 10 in the nation. Averaged a triple double his junior year. BUT, he wasn’t the leader on the team. He wasn’t the one the guys looked to in a tight situation. Oh he ultimately produced but he “confidence” came from the team captain and how he carried himself… GREAT memories…great article…keep em coming.

  • dlight

    Wow, there is a journalistic heartbeat at dime…

  • Aussie Ric

    Nice to see some compliments in the comments section instead of flaming for a change.

    Well written guy.

  • http://mayweather-vs-mosley-online-stream.blogspot.com basketbuak

    nice read in here

    and it somehow inspired me

    great article, lebron will be enlighten after reading this,lol

  • FreezeDriedMouse

    Russell. Bird. Magic. Isiah. MJ. Hakeem. Duncan. Shaq. D-Wade. Kobe. And now Dirk

    and Paul Pierce.

  • Desi

    Much to agree with here, but I break it down into two elements. Championships are won when: 1) The stars elevate their game, and; 2) the role players show up. We just watched a finals where a star didn’t elevate, and how many times did guys like Patrick Ewing or Domonique Wilkins elevate only to see their supporting cast disappear?

  • Desi

    Much to agree with here, but I break it down into two elements. Championships are won when: 1) The stars elevate their game, and; 2) the role players show up. We just watched a finals where a star didn’t elevate, and how many times did guys like Patrick Ewing or Domonique Wilkins elevate only to see their supporting cast disappear?