At some point in time sports franchises are going to have to realize that trying to create a dream team through investing in as many superstar players as they can get their hands on is not the formula for success. I’m really trying to press my memory to remember the last time a team spent a boatload of money to get a player with a bad attitude, and it resulted in the team winning a championship.
This year the Dallas Cowboys broke the bank in order to try and win a championship. Amongst others, they brought in Adam Jones, otherwise known as “Pac-Man,” even though Jones has proven that his desire to go to the strip club outweighs his desire to take care of the job that gives him the millions of singles he needs to shower the floor of places probably called The Rump Dump or The Butt Hut. Jones showed early in his career that he was an extremely talented athlete, but no matter how many times he was arrested or went to court, Jones felt compelled to continue his raunchy romp. After having to sit out for a year, Jones was taken in by the only team that would be willing so sacrifice its dignity, along with $13.3 million (not all up front), in the name of paying for a championship: The Dallas Cowboys. Now the Cowboys are out of the playoffs and having to defend their discipline and their heart, or will to win. Perhaps they can question Adam Jones to get the answers to those questions.
Naturally when you talk about paying for a championship team, the first team that comes to mind is the New York Yankees. Somehow, they really don’t get it. Never has there ever been a franchise that subscribes to such an extravagant theory of spending to win. The funny thing is that when you look back to the latest bunch of championships that the Yankees won, it was the understated players that had the biggest affect upon them winning. The superstars did their superstar job, but every structure needs clean up men.
If you notice championship teams, they seem to always consist of quite a few well developed role players that come through in the clutch...the clean up men. The Boston Celtics certainly had to come out of pocket to add Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen to their failing team. At that point the Celtics needed that much help to turn their team around. Even though there was, and is, such a big focus on The Big Three (Garnett, Allen, and Paul Pierce), the reason the Celtics are so good is because there are many players who back them up.
Many superstar players are fairly overpaid and lazy to begin with. The more players of these players that are put together on one team, the more the situation becomes a beauty contest. When you have the atmosphere of competition, then it prepares the team for competition. Competition is fostered by the little guys on the paycheck totem pole, who know that if they don’t make it in a good situation, around good players, then they will have to make a good situation around other UPS delivery men. I think that the big problem is that the affects are subtle. Superstar athletes are so talented that they can likely give a lesser effort in practice, but still come off as working hard. Also, superstar athletes can be a bit soft when it comes to the fundamentals of their sport. Often, their exceeding athletic ability leads them to believe that their strength is in improvisation and not the little boring basics.
That’s how the cookie and the championship dreams crumble. Too much sugar and spice and everything nice and blingy, and not enough snails and puppy dog tails. Even in women’s sports, being pretty doesn’t win the game. There is no substitute for coaching, and coaching means making hard working bench players play like stars, and making star players blend in with the team. Kobe. Pass the ball (it feels like it’s been too long since I picked on him).