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The Dangers of Crowning Players Prematurely

It seems like anytime us as sports fan see something new, innovative, and exciting, we clamor to it, which is totally understandable. If it’s something that we feel is a part of us (for instance, a hometown player), or something that just goes about its business with limited fanfare, we want to be the ones who take pride in it, tell the world about it, and let the world know it’s on the verge of being the next best thing. It’s something that every fan of sports can say they’ve been guilty of doing at least once. However, there comes a time when we have to pull back and realize the severity of what we’re doing, how egregious it is to use emotion over logic, and how dangerous it is to be so excited about someone that we totally disregard other players that have been at it before them, or do what they do better than them.

Ed and I go at it quite a bit about this topic. There have been times when he feels I crown players and coaches prematurely and vice-versa. One of the funnier things about it is we have these debates and it’s not like one of us is telling lies when we make a case for someone we cut for. It’s simply that we see the same thing in a multitude of ways. Like Ed has said for years, that’s what makes sports so great. Fans can see the same thing, but see it differently. Once again though, there are some things that have to be universal truth, because no matter how much you love a player, there are some times when they still have to go earn the title, and not just have it handed to them.

This is no clearer when discussions of best PG, best player in the league, top-five QB, or a multitude of other positions come into play. Sometimes, the crowning gets so out of hand that it calls for either Ed or me to be the voice of reason. Whether it’s Aaron Rodgers being crowned as a top-five quarterback, Derrick Rose being crowned a top-three point guard, Chris Paul being crowned best PG in basketball, or Kevin Durant being crowned as the best player in basketball, it just goes to show that when players play well and show flashes of brilliance and greatness, we as fans want to catapult them into the stratosphere of superstardom that they haven’t attained yet.

It would be one thing if the players mentioned above were players we didn’t like, because then, it could be dismissed as hatred. However, that’s certainly not the case. Ed is one of the biggest Kevin Durant Stans you will ever meet in life. The man led the league in scoring last year, but let’s be for real here: the scoring championship hasn’t had a clear-cut winner since Kobe won it in 2007, the year he averaged 32 a game, and the next player (‘Melo) was at 29. That year, he was the undisputed scoring champ.

Since then, players have won it, but you could make the case that (at least) three other players could have won it as well. With that said, why are people in a rush to crown the man? Didn’t we (me included) once crown Tracy McGrady for doing more than what Durant is doing now? Honestly, McGrady did a lot more back then than what Durant is doing now. How did that work out (and this is coming from someone who loves McGrady)? Durant is very good, a top-ten player, but this talk about him being the best needs to stop right now. He even says the same thing! Let the man earn it. He’s not even the best at his position, because that goes to LeBron. Hell, he aint even better than ‘Melo right now.

Plus, when players get the crown too early, people become so enamored by them that it’s virtually impossible to make a case that someone is better than them. Steve Nash won two MVPs, but once ’07-08 rolled around, Chris Paul was crowned the best PG in basketball. Sure, he put up amazing numbers, and yes, they had the second-best record in the West, but they also lost in the second round that year. The following year, they were obliterated by 58 points in a playoff game, AT HOME, in a game where Paul had FOUR POINTS and were subsequently ousted in the first round.

This is the man people say is the best PG in basketball? His teams have done nothing of significance since, and even with that, when people try to make a case that someone is better (which I have been screaming for the past three years), or say that he should have never been crowned that early in the first place, people will accuse you of slander. What’s wrong with wanting players to achieve more success than piling up some numbers? What’s wrong with them earning the crown, instead of us just handing it over to them?

People say Lebron was crowned prematurely, ever since he came out of high school, and as someone who was once a non-believer, I certainly agree. With that said, the man has earned two MVPs, he’s been to the Finals, collected a pile of other accolades along the way, and has numerous performances that show that his crowning was actually well-deserved. He’s done enough to transform me into a witness, and even though he hasn’t won a ring yet, he’s put himself in position to achieve that dream as well. Then again, everyone can’t be The King.

Consider this to be an ode and a pledge to stop crowning players prematurely. If you consider yourself to be a responsible sports fan, it will behoove you to do the same.

Be easy.
-K. Masenda
P.S. As a reminder, checkout the livest sports talk (and hopefully on the radio soon) show around, "The Unsportsmanlike Conduct Show" as we are live Wednesday's at 9pm Eastern at http://www.blogtalkradio.com/edthesportsfan! Download our podcasts if you missed the live show as well!


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