“I hate the Yankees because they just buy championships.”
Unless you actually are a Yankee fan, you’ve probably said those words. I used to always say I hated the Yankees and when people would ask why, I’d say exactly that. They just buy their trophies.
For whatever reason, most of us saw something far more admirable in the way a team like the Marlins won their two World Series championships. By drafting smart, building from within, developing talent and managing money wisely. They didn’t have a blank check to buy every big name on the free agent market so they had to plan more carefully.
And with the Heat now being two games away from winning an NBA championship the same year that LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh decided to form a super-team of sorts, I’m hearing that same explanation as a reason to hate the Heat. And to make it better, the counter-argument all year has always been the Thunder.
On one hand you have a franchise that basically turned things around in one year because they had money and three players that wanted to play together. On the other, you have a franchise that has succeeded by managing the salary cap brilliantly, by drafting and by developing. Because of those two different models — to go along with humility, market size, market style and a number of other things — the Thunder were painted as the anti-Heat. As if that’s some badge of honor to wear while trying to win one for the little guys.
It’s something that I talked about on this week’s podcast, but I’ve been thinking more about it: Is there something more honorable in the way the Thunder are winning than the Heat? Keep Reading…