The dark side of Magic, Michael and Larry

Posted by By at 26 September, at 12 : 30 PM Print

The dark side of Magic, Michael and Larry

Michael, Magic and Larry have been credited as taking the NBA to untold levels of popularity, profits and worldwide acceptance. But in the era of the “diva” athlete, a darker side to the benefits of Michael, Magic and Larry emerges. Now, when before the three superstars arose after their accomplishments in contributing to the game of basketball, now young athletes are judged (and judged harshly) whether they meet or don’t meet the benchmarks set by the trio. Sports media outlets worldwide constantly look at every player and now “brand” each basketball player’s game as “Jordan-like” or “Magic-esque”. There is also “court vision like Magic” or “a shooting touch like Larry Bird’s”. No more can players’ stand alone on their own merits but now must linger in the trio’s long shadow.

Michael, Magic and Larry also made immense sums of money with endorsements for various products. Most notably, Michael Jordan with Nike and Gatorade. Now, any basketball player with talent immediately gets consumed in a whirlpool of non-stop commercials, endorsement deals and other marketing/business responsibilities. No more can a male “just play basketball”. Moreover, kids grow singing the Gatorade commercial of “Like Mike, if I could be like Mike” and want to one day, be in a Gatorade commercial. No longer JUST play professional basketball. It seems like with the growth of the NBA through the efforts of Magic, Michael and Larry, the most important tenet which gathered all of them has been forgotten–to play basketball, and play it well.

The NBA has tried to organize workshops for incoming rookies to orient them in the fast-paced lifestyle of professional basketball. Many players have slept through the workshops or just sat and listened, probably just enough for the organizers to stop talking and let them go home. Many players may not realize and fans are now probably not old enough to remember when professional athletes had to get regular jobs in the off season to keep paying the bills because professional salaries weren’t lucrative. Players and owners don’t need to remember the old days but keep in mind that they must still run a professional basketball league, not a worldwide marketing business with models playing athletes.

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