Jul. 25, 2017
Did Kyrie Irving Show The Gap Between NBA Generations?
"Every generation blames the one before..."-Mike Rutherford
We hear it all the time in the world we live in. From the Baby Boomers to the Gen-Xers to the now the Millennials. And the story is the same: The generation before you is blamed for your generation's hardships and the generation after you ruins everything you have done and therefore is an awful generation. I am living through it with Millennials as I admittedly think they will bring the end of the world. That said, I bet the Boomers thought the Gen-Xers were that way and Gen-Xers believe that with Millennials. And in another 10-20 years the next group will come and the Millennials will feel that way too.
This holds true with sports as well. Go listen to fans, players, coaches, announcers, etc. and hear about how whatever sport they are talking about isn't the same as it was 20 years ago. Then to those people, think back 20 years ago and hear about older people say how the game wasn't the same as it once was either.
But even the players have that same mentality. We have seen it in the NBA over time. If you looked at the mid-80's through the mid 90's, you had a group of Jordan, Barkley, Ewing, Malone, etc. and then came the next wave with Iverson, Kobe, Garnett, etc. and then as things progressed to the mid-2000's it became LeBron, Carmelo, Paul, Wade, etc, (as I like to coin the League of SuperFriends). And now, the new era has happened. It's the likes of Steph Curry, Paul George, Russell Westbrook, Kyrie Irving, and others are becoming front & center of the NBA while the SuperFriends are entering the twilight of their careers.
And thus, no longer the focal point of the NBA.
Last week, Kyrie Irving requested a trade from the Cavaliers and NOT wanting to play with LeBron James.
Perish the thought!
10 years ago, nobody would have dreamed the idea of a star player wanting to not play with LeBron for a championship. Well....times change.
With the SuperFriends Era, you had players who tried to pull strings with teams to get traded to either make names for themselves and try to be larger than life (Carmelo) or join teams with their buddies (LeBron, Wade, Bosh), and then talk about how they will one day all join forces on a team, (which my come to fruition in the 2018-2019 season somewhere in Los Angeles). But it also has the feeling of resentment among the players after. We don't know exactly what went in on New York with Carmelo over this time but it seemed like teammates had gripes of him during that span, whether true or untrue. We saw Dwyane Wade get called out by the younger Bulls for criticizing them in the media and then not practicing with the team. And now we see LeBron and Kyrie.
The one thing that has defined LeBron's era and now this era with the NBA that has alienated the older generations, both of players, coaches, etc. has been the jump with superteams. It bothers the likes of Jordan, Barkley, etc. that it happens. But the irony is, both the SuperFriends generation and this new generation are pointing the fingers at one another, saying they were the culprits of the superteams, as LeBron accused Golden State of doing, but then a wave of criticism took place as others slammed LeBron and his stint in Miami, which was a superteam itself.
But I think the ridicule & criticism LeBron & his cohorts got for really running roughshod over the years, especially over the last few years, has made that group a very defensive group with a bit of resentment. They're being attacked by the groups before them and now are believing the current NBA players after them do not show them the same respect as they did before.
So now the Kyrie Irving trade request has probably showed the gap between the "old" and "new" generations of the NBA. You have to say now the group that we see of LeBron, Carmelo, Wade, etc. are now the "old guys" of the league. Kyrie has been considered part of the new wave of NBA stars alongside Westbrook, Harden, and Curry (yes, I know the age gap of LeBron and those guys aren't as huge, but given his NBA experience, he is an old guy compared to them). His trade request probably is in part because he is not "the guy" in Cleveland like he had hoped when the Cavs drafted him and wants to be that. Now, does it also signify the superteams will start to wind down? Perhaps not as I believe you're still going to have them, but it could stunt the push as stars would maybe prefer being the face of the franchise and not sharing it. Time will tell on that.
Or Kyrie is just an oddball.
-Fan in the Obstructed Seat