One Great Season
Here's a conversation that I suppose will happen between 60-year-old men about 20 years from now, joined en medias res, of course:
Old Man 1: "No way. Mike is still the best ever."
Old Man 2: "Eff that. Kobe had just as many titles, but never had a Pippen alongside him."
OM 1: "Yeah, but Kobe had Shaq in his prime for his first three rings. How 'bout Mike at No. 1 and Kobe 1A?"
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OM 2: "I think we're just going to have to agree to disagree. Kobe was just as deadly of an assassin as Mike was, and Kobe won his six when the talent pool may have been a little deeper across the league."
OM 1: "Maybe, but one thing we will agree on is that LeBron does not belong in the same zip code as this conversation, right?"
OM 2: "Yeah, for shizz. I can't believe he only won two championships in Miami."
OM 1: "I know. Remember how everybody thought they were going to win it all that first year? Your boy Kobe certainly had something to say about that. I was never a huge Kobe guy, but I became a fan of his the night LeBron did that ridiculous look-at-me-everybody hour of television on ESPN. I can't believe he did Cleveland like that so publicly after that city worshiped him for seven years."
OM 2: "For real. That was disgusting. And thanks to that, now we get it almost every year it seems. Who do these punks think they are?"
OM 1: "Seriously. thank God for guys like Kevin Durant, who could very well be part of this conversation too had he won another couple of rings. I was glad he got two for himself. Same with Wall."
OM 2: "Yeah, those guys were fun to watch and great for the league. How 'bout when Miami introduced LeBron, D. Wade and Bosh that weekend and LeBron started counting his future rings? 'Not one, not two, not three, not four, not five, not six, not seven.' What an arrogant dickhead. And then they only won two together. Awesome."
OM 2: "How 'bout when he said, 'We're going to show the world that the Heat are back,' are you kidding me? The world back then and still to this day does not care about the NBA or the Miami Heat, or that asshole. Good luck with that global brand, tough guy."
OM 1: "I'm not even sure LeBron ever meant anything that came out of his mouth after 2009. I realize athletes get media training and so forth, but it seemed like that buffoon Maverick Carter just advised him wrongly at every turn. LeBron ended up looking, acting and sounding like a complete robot all the time. He made Tiger Woods look charming back then."
OM 2: "I know. And remember how like a few days later, that Yankees annoucer and Steinbrenner both died on the same day or whatever? Jeter was the guy who represented the team and spoke to the crowd before their next game, not A-Rod. As soon as I saw all that go down, that was the best analogy I could think of. The Heat were always going to be Wade's team, in every way. And LeBron was going to have to stay in the background. And who the hell did Bosh think he was? He wasn't a top-line player like LeBron or D. Wade."
OM 1: "Word. Everyone knew from the very first minute there were going to be chemistry problems. I'm almost surprised they won the two they did."
OM 2: "Yeah, I liked seeing them lose to the Thunder in the 2014 Finals."
OM 1: "How 'bout when the Wizards got them in the second round the following year?"
OM 2: "I can't believe Wall kept playing until just last year. That dude was awesome. And he was never an asshole."