It’s September 25, 2000, a timestamp of great underestimation from the entire league of what a young Paul Pierce was capable of becoming.
The greatest basketball player on Earth wants to take off on a random night in Memphis? So what NBA world, deal with it.
Last week, there was a lot of commotion over Cleveland Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue benching LeBron James, Kyrie Irving, and Kevin Love for a game against the Grizzlies. They actually didn’t even travel to Memphis with the team for the game.
I understand the backlash from sports analysts, former NBA players, and fans. Some people in Memphis probably bought tickets way in advance for this game, and the Grizzlies heavily advertised The King’s appearance.
Unfortunately, all that matters now in the NBA is your legacy and how many rings you have on your finger, especially to someone who is trying to chase that ghost in Chicago.
Analysts and fans have created this pressure for superstar players, who can’t have tired legs for the inevitable playoff push. That pressure is the reason Kevin Durant joined up with the Golden State Warriors and the reason you see LeBron and others take some nights off. If Allen Iverson took off some games in 2001, maybe he would have had more energy to expend against the Lakers in the NBA Finals.
I feel bad for the ticket buyers in Memphis, but this is the world we live in. It’s all about rings, and NBA players with a championship shot need to do whatever it takes to put themselves in the best position to win in June – especially The King.