Wednesday , Jun , 24 , 2009 J.N.

Does a title truly define greatness?

Does a title truly define greatness?This thought perplexes me.

Many players come and go through the League of Extraordinary Ballplayers without ever winning a ring. When they make it, they are merely happy just to be able to live out a dream and get paid handsomely while doing so. Who can blame them? They were “The Man” back in high school and college. Most of the rookies think they are still great when they step on to an NBA floor, but they will learn soon enough.

Yet for every ball player that enters and leaves, there will be a few who will be great. Those great ones look like they are destined for a championship. Fans count their blessings and ponder “When?” Sometimes those players never get a chance to kiss the trophy. Karl Malone, John Stockton, Patrick Ewing, Reggie Miller, Charles Barkley, Mark Jackson, and Dominique Wilkins are great players who were cursed to play during The Michael Jordan era. It’s tragic that these greats did not get to win one.

Most of the guys listed are hall of famers because their numbers do not lie. Take it from Lebron James, who was recently spotted wearing “Check the $tats” shirt, statistics show their significance. {Watching} them shows how much they impacted the game. While we sympathize with their struggles throughout their careers as we keep track of how they evolved, we should not pity them since, after all, they’re still multimillionaires living out a dream.

Only a handful of select destined people get to live out a dream while making tons of paper in the process.

Of course, basketball is a team game. The team, not the player, wins the title. There will be certain players, also known as role players or journeymen, which will ride certain people’s coat tails to multiple titles. They might do memorable stuff and make memorable shots, but for the most part, they reap the rewards of the star players’ output. It’s not a bad living experiencing many championship parades and having multiple rings to rock for the weekends. I certainly would not mind. No hate over here although this does raise another question.

Despite having multiple rings as a role player, are they great themselves?

Think about Robert Horry, Steve Kerr, and Derek Fisher. Now think about the greats who did not win jack. Perhaps this piece is for the greats who only got to flirt with a title. They can probably take some solace knowing the difference between them and role players. Upon further examination, this is also a catch-22 since star players need quality role players to win. Role players need superstars to win. They both need each other as long as everyone knows their role.

The reason why this thought has been perplexing me is because of this situation I ran across a few months ago. A young adolescent might just look at a certain hall of famer’s lack of rings, such as Patrick Ewing, then compare with Robert Horry and come to the conclusion that Horry is the superior player. I actually have seen this happen already around various message boards!

Do they truly need a title to prove their greatness?