I believe endorsement deals have ruined the NBA. It’s great everyone is getting paid and being able to support their families, but in all reality it’s taken away the personalities from the game. Everyone just seems like they’re made from a cookie cutter. No one want’s to make themselves different than anyone else, everyone is trying to be cool. Everyone likes each other, so much so, that even the rivalries are cookie cutter.
If you’re like everyone else, don’t spark too many problems personality wise, and play well, then you’ll get endorsement deals. But before there were these huge deals, individuals were just that, individuals. Men who played basketball from their hearts, not their wallets. They played hard and didn’t care if they were liked by other players or not. The Bad Boys of Detroit being a perfect example, they were despised, and didn’t care. They made you earn everything you got on that court by force.
When Lebron James decided to dump Cleveland for Miami, I hated the way he did it, but honestly thought that he had a golden opportunity to play the role of villain. I thought it was the perfect time to embrace it and take on the rest of the NBA. Tell people to fuck off and stop your opponents with no regard for them or their fans. For all I know, maybe playing the villain wasn’t in him, but he’s always said he’s wanted to be the billion dollar athlete. In order to do that you have to be liked.
I want to see more villains and assholes, guys who have no fear to be exactly who they are. I’m not talking off the court issues, but while you are on that court let your play emulate you. I just really miss the personalities.