The Norman Transcript


June 26, 2014

Legacy built on service, not on hopscotch



Heck, he only needs one more title to catch Bird. What Bird would still have on him, however, is class and respect. And the only way for James to continue adding that to his resume is to stay put.

But enough about James.

What’s it’s really about is legacy and what’s so quickly forgotten in the moment — thank you Stephen A. Smith, Skip Bayless and ESPN for ruining thoughtful sports dialogue; really, where’s Bob Costas when you need him — is that you can’t leave a legacy by playing hopscotch with employers.

Has it ever happened?

Shaquille O’Neal loses a little ground by moving from Orlando to L.A., and he won all his championships in L.A. 

Dennis Rodman is remembered as an eccentric and great rebounder, but less a championship guy even though he won two with the Pistons and three with the Bulls. If he’d been in either place the whole time, his legacy would be greater.

Bob McAdoo won two titles with the Lakers coming off the bench and none with the Buffalo Braves, Knicks, Celtics, Pistons and Nets. But his legacy is wrapped up in his being an electric scorer who averaged 18.0, 20.6, 34.5, 31.1, 25.8, 26.5 and 24.8 points per game his first seven years in the league. 

His two titles are a nice footnote the way Bill Walton’s 1986 title in Boston is a nice footnote. They are not legacy builders.

Yes, there are championship legacies from players who didn’t spend their entire career in the same place, but only when they might as well have.

Babe Ruth was a Redsock, a Yankee and finally a Boston Brave, but he won all his championships in the Bronx.

Franco Harris was a Seahawk but claimed all his hardware in Pittsburgh.

Joe Montana was a Chief but was only a champion at Candlestick.

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