What does the NBA encourage players to do that would make them band together and want to play on the same team as each other? Well, there is something going on this summer called the Olympics and ever since the "Original Dream Team" fans have wondered, "What if THEY played together?" Looking at the games seeing LeBron James, Kobe Bryant, Kevin Durant and others playing as a unit, it is not only the fans who think that these guys have some good chemistry. If it were just the Olympics, it would be one thing because that is every four years. These guys also get together to play in the World Games and on top of that, the players are asked to commit for at least three years. Lately, there seems to be a push for Team USA to put an age limit on the roster and even with that it still would not stop younger players from thinking about game styles and wanting to play together.
Outside of Team USA these players are together during All Star games, charity games, camps and etc. These guys have been playing basketball all of their life and most of them are used to winning (typically because they were better than everyone else), then they get to the NBA and get drafted by a perennial loser in the lottery. A few years go by and now a player has an option to opt out of his contract and become a free agent or sign a long term deal. If you have spent at least three years in pure hell with a GM that doesn't know how to put a team together and you feel like you can do a better job, then you SHOULD opt out, test the market and decide for yourself where you fit in best. After all, you have participated in all these events and talked to other players who you have grown to know and trust.
The world is a lot smaller than it was during the 70's, 80's and even the 90's. Yes, these young hoopers go to camps, get to know each other and then continue to communicate throughout the year via social media. So these guys know each other and are friendly with each other by the time they are ready to go to college. Unlike the stories that you hear about with Magic and Bird, where the other guy is a virtual unknown and therefore without knowing him, a heated rivalry emerges. Later in life the two get to know each other and become good friends. The guys in today's era already know each other and have developed a friendly rivalry that has gone on since they were probably 10 years old. By the time they get to their third or fourth year in the NBA, they have the option to play together and possibly form one of the best teams in the league.
Old guys will tell you that they would never join forces with a rival to win a ring, but we all know that is false. First, the contracts were set up to where players could not opt out and control their own destiny, all they could do was try to force a trade. Trust me if Reggie Miller could have gone to play for the Chicago Bulls, he would've and MJ would have loved to have him. Next, most of the guys that said what they would and wouldn't do, actually did go to play with other greats. Barkley went to Houston to play with Clyde Drexler and Hakeem Olajuwan and then the next season recruited Scottie Pippen to join him. Who else here remembers Gary Payton and Karl Malone playing for the Lakers? Every older generation always looks at the new as if they are the ones doing it wrong. It's not wrong, on top of that it not even different.
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