Gone are the days of Michael Jordan wanting to dominate, conquer and rip out the eyes of Patrick Ewing. Say farewell to the times where Charles Barkley wanted to almost literally steal the soul, joy and being of Karl Malone.
Never again will we see the likes of rivalries such as the 1980’s Los Angeles Lakers and Boston Celtics where fighting to the end of a game many times meant physically fighting during the game as well. This is the new NBA, the one that David Stern made it abundantly clear that was needed and wanted and with it comes peace, harmony and superstars being best friends with other superstars even if they’re not on the same team.
Fast forward to 2012 where the Association looks more like an episode of “Friends” than what those such as myself grew up watching and with it comes opposing stars inviting each other to weddings, birthday parties and even off-season workout sessions. Kevin Durant and LeBron James, arguably the game’s two biggest stars and headliners of the 2012 NBA Finals, are back at it again working out together for the second straight off-season near James’ hometown of Akron, OH.
Even though Jordan and Barkley were (and still remain) best friends the thought of them working out together following the 1993 NBA Finals would have been completely unfathomable but that’s not the case when it comes to today’s NBA stars. During the off-season prior to the 2011-12 season James and Durant became very close friends while playing in several pick-up games with and against one another which led them to workout together with visions of meeting each other in the NBA Finals.
Those visions materialized with James’ Miami Heat defeating Durant’s Oklahoma City Thunder in five games and following that the two got even closer during Team USA’s gold medal run in the 2012 summer games in London.
The two agreed to go through a similar workout session again before the 2012-13 season began and are currently doing so as I type. Many analysts, writers and fans have their opinions on the situation as do I (I don’t like it one bit, I like my stars foaming at the mouth to tear each other apart) but unfortunately none of that matters if neither of the two have no problem with it then why should any of us. The only way it will be seen if this practice is detrimental to the quality of the product on the court is if the two fail to go at one another with everything that they have. If that happens then something needs to be done about this huge love fest that is the 2000’s National Basketball Association!