Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Linsanity: like it or lump it


The basketball phenomenon known as Linsanity gained momentum last night, but there's trouble on the horizon for the New York Knicks and their rising star point guard, Jeremy Lin. While Lin drained a game-winning three pointer with half a second left in Toronto, the NBA beat media was abuzz over whether the 23 year old Lin and established Knicks superstar Carmelo Anthony can co-exist when Anthony returns from a groin injury - a question that says more about Anthony's ego than it does about anything else.
It's a credit to the prevailing mentality of hockey players that NHL history is awash in examples of superstars who not only co-existed on the same team but pulled together to win championships - Wayne Gretzky and Mark Messier in Edmonton, Mario Lemieux and Jaromir Jagr in Pittsburgh, Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin with the Penguins, Bobby Orr and Phil Esposito in Boston, Mike Bossy and Bryan Trottier on Long Island, and Rocket Richard, Jean Beliveau or Guy Lafleur and any one of a score of Hall of Famers they collectively shared the room with during the glory years at the Forum.
NBA history is less liberally sprinkled with examples of dynamic championship duos, and the most obvious ones - the LA Lakers pairings of Kareem Abdul Jabaar and Magic Johnson and Shaquille O'Neal and Kobe Bryant - won their titles despite their relationships with each other rather than because of them.
If Carmelo Anthony can't share the ball and the spotlight with Jeremy Lin, Anthony is the one who's got to go. It doesn't matter how good an athlete he is - a self-serving attitude in a team dynamic is poison, and an almost guaranteed recipe for failure.

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