During the TNT 2010 All-Star Game telecast, Ernie Johnson revealed the Player of the Decade as voted on by fans at NBA.com. The runaway winner was Kobe Bryant, with 54% of the vote, followed by LeBron James at 17%. Tim Duncan and Shaquille O’Neal — the two most deserving of consideration, in my humble opinion — only garnered 8% and 13% respectively.
Here is where I have to step in, agree with Charles Barkley and the rest of the knowledgeable TNT crew and say, “what are you thinking, people?!?”
Results from votes like this really show that the general public should not be given a say in anything important. Things like…hmmm…who should run a country. Oh hang on, they already do! But seriously, just like the shambles of an All-Star vote that sees Tracy McGrady almost get in and Allen Iverson actually get voted in as a starter, the public continues to show how little they know about NBA basketball. And how short their memories are.
If we were to conduct a poll of the Top Player of the Past Five Years, sure, Bryant gets the vote, hands down (with a nod to LeBron James). Of the decade, however? It’s Shaq and Duncan all the way, battling for the crown. Duncan has been consistently brilliant during this past decade, averaging approximately 21.0ppg, 11.5rpg and 2.7bpg without indiscretion, whilst leading his team to four titles (granted one of those did come in 1998-99). And O’Neal, well let’s just say that if you look at his three titles in LA (don’t for a second think that they weren’t all about him) and then to follow that up with a ring in Miami… well, if he had his first five years of the decade now (take a look at the ridiculous numbers), we wouldn’t have so many short-memoried people.
Don’t dismiss this as some Kobe Bryant haterade. I actually count myself as someone who regards Bryant as the greatest player in the game right now — a title I struggled to bestow upon him for a long time. He has clearly matured from his earlier, “me-first” days and is a strong team leader, smooth spokesman and undeniable force on both ends of the court. He just has not been the greatest player of the past decade, when all things are considered. He is not even second best.
Here is the TNT broadcast, including what the crew had to say:
And LeBron? Let’s just say he shouldn’t have even been on the ballot. What do you think? Do you too think that the NBA.com voting population also must consist solely of 14 year-olds with no memory of the early ’90s? Or do you think Kobe is clearly a 4-5 times more deserving Player of the Decade than Duncan or O’Neal?