Hakeem Olajuwon becomes the latest great to criticize the trend of super teams in the NBA
The debate regarding super teams in the NBA has gotten a lot more serious ever since the Los Angeles Lakers compiled perhaps the best super team in the modern NBA era by adding veteran point guard Steve Nash and three time defensive
player of the year Dwight Howard to the team in the off-season.
The Lakers now boast a starting roster that includes Nash, Howard, Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol. The Lakers went from not even in championship conversation next season to the favourites to win the NBA title. But the arrival of Howard
and Nash in L.A has many former NBA players as well as sports analysts calling for stricter CBA rules to limit the number of star players in a team. They offer the argument that with big market teams gathering all the talent, small market teams will lose their
standing in the league, which is not good for the game, the league or the business.
The trend of super teams was re-started by the Boston Celtics back in 2007, when they added Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen to the team and paired them with Paul Pierce. Their pairing came to be known as the “big three”, and won an
NBA championship the first year they played together. The Celtics dominated the Eastern Conference for a few years with their line-up, and the Miami Heat, in 2010, made an even bigger announcement when they brought Chris Bosh and LeBron James together with
Dwyane Wade in Miami to make their version of the “big three”.
Miami were unable to win an NBA championship in the first year after the acquisition of James and Bosh, though they did make it to the NBA Finals. However, they won the NBA championship this past season, their second as the new
And now the Lakers are looking good to win a few titles in the upcoming seasons. The trend of the super teams, however, has left a bad taste in the mouth of small market teams who are looking to come up through their hard work,
smart draft picks and trades, as well as devotion to player development.
Teams such as the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Chicago Bulls have taken that road, but now face teams such as the Lakers and the Heat in their way as they aim to win an NBA title.
Former NBA All Star centre Hakeem Olajuwon has come out and said that the trend of the super teams in not good for the league, as it will promote the wrong kind of work ethic, remove any competition whatsoever from the league,
and make small market teams always playing catch up with the big market teams.
“That’s the dilemma the league has to balance to make sure each team at least has the opportunity to have a superstar and has the opportunity to be a championship contender. That’s the goal of every team, but now the quality of
players, true franchise players, is less than what it was. There are superstars and then there are franchise players. There are always very few of those in any era. Once you have that player, you can build your team around him. Today, the ones who are franchise
players are teaming up together, which makes it more difficult for the teams without a superstar or a franchise player,” said Olajuwon while talking to USA Today.
The debate is only heating up and is sure to get more interesting when the regular season opens and the Lakers show their dominance in the Western Conference.