My man @JonathanTjarks of theringer.com had an amazing column the other day on the reality of team building in the NBA in an era when LeBron James and the Warriors rule the league.
The main thrust of his point is that there is value in the struggle for supremacy in the league, value in the teams that come up short, and a lot of foolishness in the idea that every team who can’t beat LeBron (nearly everyone) should blow up their rosters and tank for…the next LeBron. Who may never come.
There’s a lesson in here for a lot of college football teams as well. Wisconsin has this down well for instance, they routinely lose coaches to programs that are willing to pay more and Barry Alvarez just shrugs his shoulders and hires another coach that he knows will follow the Wisconsin blueprint for success. They know in Madison that their best chances for a title are going to come from a magical season when they happen upon paydirt in the form of an elite DT or QB or something like that, in the meantime they’re going to do “Wisconsin” and enjoy that life for what it is.
This is one of the best chances that Oklahoma State will ever have to win the Big 12, go to the playoff, or produce a Heisman winner and they’re clearly pushing all their chips in. Every other year? Mike Gundy knows the score, they have a process they adhere to and they accept their place in the hierarchy.
It’s often the fans that struggle with this mental calculation.
Believe it or not I grew up a pretty hardcore Boston Red Sox fan. I lived in Connecticut for a couple years of my life, the years when I happened to be diving into the world of sports, and so I ended up a Sox fan. Year after year was defined by the resistance to the idea of “the curse” and the hopes of finally breaking through and winning a title.
Then it happened and in just about the most dramatic and glorious fashion imaginable. So then what? I found after that that baseball just couldn’t hold my attention the same way anymore. It’s a long freaking season and if you don’t enjoy it for what it is, the titles don’t mean as much.
I wonder if Simmons has found that since, his love of the Red Sox and baseball seems diminished as well. That said, this was still a pretty fun read: