There have been many dynasties throughout the history of basketball. In past decades, we have seen the dominance (in no particular order) of the Miami Heat, which comprised the trio of Lebron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh; the Los Angeles Lakers, comprising Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant; and the Golden State Warriors, with Steph Curry, Draymond Green, Klay Thompson, and, for a brief period, Kevin Durant. These are just a few recent cases where a specific team has dominated the NBA for a couple years at a time.
The Dallas Mavericks have had their own period of fame, coming mainly when Dirk Nowitzki was part of the team. One of the most prolific big men of his time, Nowitzki helped the Mavs win their maiden title, and was bestowed with the title of Most Valuable Player for the NBA Finals for that season. However, since then, the Mavs have not been able to reach the same level they had been at in previous years. There have been many years where they have struggled to even make the playoffs, let alone make deep runs. In their few postseason showings, they have not been able to make deep runs. And, their team has lacked superstars, with Luka Doncic, arguably the best player in the league right now, being the face of the squad today. However, it seems that all this is about to change.
Kyrie Irving has made headlines after he requested a trade from the Brooklyn Nets earlier in the week. With the trade deadline nearing, Irving made it clear that he wanted to be traded within this cycle. Days later, he would be traded to the Dallas Mavericks, where he will be playing his first games soon. But, what does this mean for the Mavs, and the NBA in general?
First off, the Mavs may just see a resurrection in the near future. With two dominant forces in the backcourt, Dallas can expect great ball handling, passing, and overall better scoring. It has been long-said that Doncic is NBA-champion-tier material, and Irving has already proven that he can compete at the highest level, so there is definitely experience and passion within this newly-invigorated team to now really deliver results. And yet, with all of this being said, figuring out the chemistry between these two players can cause some problems. Both love having their hands on the ball, and are not easily willing to give it up. Thus, there will be a significant amount of unlearning and learning to be done in terms of working together to deliver the best outcomes within games.
However, Kyrie Irving’s trade signifies more than just a new and more talented Mavs game. In fact, it provides a level of commentary about values within the NBA. The point guard was not able to come to even terms with the Nets about a renewed contract. Recently, Irving has been in the news for all the controversy that he has been causing. From not taking the COVID vaccine to believing the Earth is flat to being suspended for many different reasons, Irving has never been a consistent figure for the Brooklyn Nets, especially when they needed him the most. This begs the question: just how much have NBA players started to prioritize money and their own self-comfort rather than the performance of their own team? Irving could have helped his own team out and help them progress rather than express extremely controversial interests that almost certainly got him banned. Similar proceedings happened with James Harden, another amazing basketball player whose indiscipline in terms of work ethic and practice eventually led to his trade from the Brooklyn Nets as well. There have been many other cases of this nature in the past, revolving around how players have put their own benefit before their team’s.
It is time for the NBA to bring about change regarding this matter. Fans come from around the world and pay hundreds of dollars to watch fan favorites, only to realize that they have been benched or are not playing the game because of their actions off the court. This is unfair for all the supporters and for all the fair NBA officials who are simply looking to enhance player and customer experience. Players like Kyrie make it hard for fans to be able to enjoy themselves, knowing that in the next few weeks, for some new reason, their best players may be suspended. The NBA cannot let this continue, else it will lead to a decline in quality of experience for fans all over. It has become time for players to learn that, sometimes, it is best to put their beliefs to the side to simply play basketball as a fun sport rather than a job.