|Superstar Roll Call - 2011 Edition|
|Written by Mark Grey|
In today’s world of sports marketing, very few words are overused more than the word “superstar.” If the masterminds in the marketing department of the NBA had their way they would have you think that every player who ever scored 30 points in a game before - even if it was in college - is a superstar. The fact is, the league is made up of mostly role players and about 20 to 30 stars, but only a small handful that are the elite of the elite are “superstars.” With the word superstar being thrown around so loosely, it has become hard to determine who the real ones are, but have no fear - Mr. Grey is here with my superstar roll call to clear everything up.
While being a NBA All-Star is no easy feat, for some of you that one weekend will be the peak of your individual accomplishment. So, let’s not waste any more time and let's just get you out of here early. Al Horford and Chris Kaman, you are both dismissed. Kaman, thanks for bringing a doctor’s note but it doesn’t really help.
The biggest part of being a superstar is actually playing basketball so with that being said, Yao, you too are dismissed. All we can do is wonder what you could have been.
Being a superstar is about more than just numbers, it’s about changing the outcomes of games. Some of you guys put up eye popping numbers year in and year out but they don’t mean anything if that’s all you’re doing. Kevin Love, there is no denying your numbers are out of this world, but it takes more than grabbing a lot of rebounds on a team that misses the most shots in the NBA to be a superstar. David Lee, you can leave with Love, but not before you tell him how racking up a lot of rebounds on bad teams can make him a very rich man. Zach Randolph and Gerald Wallace, based on numbers alone you guys are probably two of the most underrated players in basketball, but neither of you are much more than box score warriors. With that being said, all four of you are dismissed.
If we were talking about superstars strictly in the fourth quarter, there is no question you would make the cut. But we're not. So Chauncey Billups, you can leave, too.
To the next group of guys, let me start by saying that you are all super talented. You guys have all shown that you can not only be the best player on a playoff team, but on any given night you can even look like the future of the NBA. The only problem is that you are missing that last extra gear that allows you to put a team on your back and carry them past the first round. While none of you are “super” stars, look on the bright side - you are all paid like you are, so who really cares? Joe Johnson and Brandon Roy, you are both free to go. Paul Pierce and Ray Allen, go with them and let them know how trading in stats for rings later in their careers will do wonders for their legacies. Chris Bosh, you can leave, too, but make sure you walk out with Pau Gasol because he is going to tell you how you just made the best move of your life. Look at him: he went from one time All-Star to having a shot at the Hall of Fame. There is no doubt that all six of you are as talented as anyone but you're not quite “super” stars. Thanks for coming out.
This next group of guys, it’s an honor to even be in this group. You guys already know the drill - you've had superstar cards for years; they just don’t work like they used to anymore. You guys have combined for countless MVPs, finals MVPs and the next stop for all of you is the Hall of Fame. While all of that is true and your places in history are already locked, at the end of the day it is 2011 and those stars just don’t shine like they used to. KG, Duncan, Nash, and J Kidd - out of respect you don’t have to leave the room, but I will ask you to step to the back.
Three of you guys are no doubt well on your way to being superstars but are still about one season away from entering that elite status. That doesn’t mean you aren’t playing elite basketball right now, it just means you need to sustain it for one more season. So we're going to keep your applications on file and you should expect to hear from us next year. Rondo, Blake Griffin, and Derrick Rose, you are free to go. Russell Westbrook, I guess you can go with them even though you might be more like two years away. See you soon guys.
Then there are three of you guys I just don’t know what to do with. You three are super stars, it’s just hard to say you change the whole culture of a team by yourself. You guys have all the numbers and have even played in big games, but there is just something about you all stopping me from putting your names with the rest of the elite. To be honest, it’s not a knock on you as much as the high regard in which I hold the others, but what the hell, welcome to the superstar club Amare, Chris Paul and Deron Williams. You guys have earned it. But please know that you have only been issued a temp card and it could be revoked at any time.
Those of you remaining, congrats you are the elite of the elite. You guys by yourself make your team relevant. Dwayne, LeBron, and Kobe - thanks for coming. Sorry for wasting your time, but you know it’s just a formality. Dwight, with your unbelievable talent and the lack of centers in the league, the sky is the limit for what you can do. Melo and Dirk, you are two of the most under appreciated stars in the league. The two of you create the biggest offensive mismatches in the game by any one not named LeBron, and you both have made sure your teams are a fixture in the post season. Kevin Durant, how anyone ever picks Greg Oden over you is a mystery to me - but welcome to the club.
Well there you have it. In a league full of stars we were able to reduce the superstar label down to seven with three temp cards issued. Remember, not being a superstar isn’t a bad thing. In fact, just being in the NBA is a great thing. To all those stars who didn’t make the cut, it doesn’t mean you can’t make it in another few years. Thank you all for coming and I look forward to seeing you at the next superstar roll call.
*follow me on Twitter @greyAmark