June 17, 2004
Did they deserve it?
I had an interesting conversation with my boss yesterday. This in itself is not a rare occurence, but yesterday we talked about the NBA Finals and how the Lakers got absolutely embarrassed by the Pistons. I mean, wow! I don't think anyone saw that one coming excpet for Ralph Wiley and my neighbor Cheesehead Craig (first time for everything). Anyway, I was saying to my boss that the only negative I could see of the Pistons beating the Lakers is that Gary Payton and Karl Malone still don't have their rings. But my boss didn't agree with that sentiment at all. According to him Gary and Karl leaving their respective teams only to win a championship shows a lack of loyalty to the fans of Seattle and Salt Lake and is disengenuous at best. He was thrilled that the Lakers got the whoopin' they got. It certainly got me to thinking, do Karl and Gary actually deserve to get their rings, or are they adding to the general disgust and apathy fans are feeling towards major sports like basketball thanks to their "mercenary for hire" attitudes? We've certainly seen this in baseball with the Yankees. I gotta admit I get a thrill every time I see the team A-Rod is on do poorly. Anyway, how does everyone feel about superstars leaving their original teams only to win a championship? Is it right or wrong?
The example that immediately comes to mind is Paul Molitor. Here is a guy that gave his best to the city of Milwaukee for years. Towards the end of his career he decided to leave the Brewers to play for a championship caliber team in Toronto. It worked out for him and he got his World Series ring. Was he wrong to leave Milwaukee, or did he deserve a little glory on the championship level? Personally, I can't think of a player that deserved it more than Paul Molitor, and I can't fault him wanting to leave Milwaukee. But I can imagine he ticked a few people off by doing so.
Looking at players closer to home, though, my tune changes ever so slightly. What if Kirby had left for greener pastures somewhere else? I would have been really ticked. And if Garnett ever left the T-Wolves I would be downright apoplectic. Players expect loyalty from fans, but it seems some don't expect the same from themselves. Luckily for us Puckett and Garnett don't fit into this category and we love them even more for it. So, anyway, Gary and Karl still don't have their rings and I can't decide if that is good or bad.
Posted by snackeru at June 17, 2004 7:23 AM | Sports
There would have been no glory in Malone riding the Kobe/Shaq wave on his way to a ring. Unless he could go to LA to improve the team and make a real contribution, it cheapens the experience. I guess it doesn't break my heart to see his empty finger.
Posted by: Carl Hamm at June 17, 2004 2:02 AM
As the resident Cheesehead here, I can comment on the Molitor situation. There was no animosity for him when he left. He gave over a decade to the team and was with them through the bad years and also when they actually went to the World Series (and lost). Molitor was a class act and I remember that he cried when he left. I know a lot of Cheeseheads were rooting for the Blue Jays that year when he won his ring. Molitor also was the MVP I believe of the Series. He contributed significantly to that team, so he earned it.
As Carl pointed out above, Malone and Payton did not make any real contributions to the Lakers and were just along for the ride. I object to them getting a ring that way. I don't think you can blame Malone from leaving Utah though. He gave them over 15 years and they could not put it together. He and Stockton were without a doubt, the best 1-2 punch in the NBA over that span. It stinks that Malone can't get his ring, but he does not need it to validate his career. Payton is just a punk, so I don't mind if he doesn't get one.
Finally, thanks for the props on Detroit. I am fully looking forward to my Polish sausage with stadium sauce and onions from you on Sunday at Miller Park. Ahhh the sweet taste of victory... thanks Ben Wallace.
Posted by: Cheesehead Craig at June 17, 2004 8:39 AM