The culture in today’s NBA is far different than it was 20 years ago. I suppose that’s the way it should be, but there are some crucial things missing today. One of those things is a lack of players with killer-competitive instincts. The NBA used to be a cut-throat business where all of the star players wanted to be the best — as Michael Jordan put it when LeBron James joined the Miami Heat:
“There’s no way, with hindsight, I would’ve ever called up Larry, called up Magic and said, ‘Hey, look, let’s get together and play on one team. But that’s… things are different. I can’t say that’s a bad thing. It’s an opportunity these kids have today. In all honesty, I was trying to beat those guys.”
That’s just one example of how NBA culture used to be much different.
Another example of how today’s game has changed, is the culture of players buddying up. Even though James and Kevin Durant are rivals on the court, they’re friends away from it. To old school people like me, that’s just wrong.
It’s with this kind of thinking in mind, that we have another emerging story of two players ‘buddying up’. This time, it’s Paul George and James. Kind of.
In recent interview with Basketball Insiders, George revealed that he wants James to be his mentor:
“It would be great to be able to pick his brain, pick his mind and just talk about the game because I think he’s a player that can help me get to the next level and continue to keep going to the next level. I wish some day we have that relationship where he is someone I can talk to—not during the season because I’m too competitive during the season—but maybe in the summertime.”
“All-Star Weekend, he gave me a couple words and every time I do run into him he gives me a couple words. He’s a player as well that I look up to and wish would mentor me.”
You like how he covered his tracks there? “I’m too competitive during the season.”
Again, maybe it’s just the grumpy old man in me, but I absolutely hate this. If PG wants a mentor, he should look no further than a hall-of-famer inside his very own Indiana Pacers organization — Larry Legend. Seeking out the guidance of a current day player and rival, is just off-putting to me.
Kids these days…