The NBA is more popular than ever, but at a certain point people get tired of it. After an overwhelming glut of free agency and draft preview articles, podcasts and Twitter threads, it’s time for basketball fans to take a break. But the NBA doesn’t want fans taking a break. It wants them arguing about their league until the season starts, even if it means publishing something as grotesque as this.
— Ballislife.com (@Ballislife) August 5, 2019
The league released it’s All-Decade teams for the years 2010-2019, and fans are not pleased. Specifically rabid Kobe Bryant fans. Even brain genius Ben Shapiro got in on the action.
So Max Kellerman is trending for saying Kobe Bryant should be on the All-NBA Worst Team of the 2010s. It's a ridiculous contention. If you take just his last three years, when he was largely injured, that's right. But he was still one of the best players in the NBA 2010-2013.
— Ben Shapiro (@benshapiro) August 6, 2019
But Kobe’s not even the king of snubs on this list. The NBA put Dwayne Wade, one of the best four shooting guards of all-time who won two titles this decade, on its third team. Meanwhile Carmelo Anthony, Blake Griffin, Anthony Davis, Chris Paul and Russell Westbrook—with a combined zero NBA championships—make up its second.
Counting championship rings isn’t the best sports argument, but it makes these teams that much tougher to swallow. After all, the players on the first team (which is unassailable) have 10 combined NBA titles.
Normally when some list or ranking goes viral on the internet, it’s created by some schmuck who doesn’t know what he’s talking about. But this is an NBA creation, which apparently means the league can’t remember its own history or what the definition of a decade is. Giannis Antetokoumpo just won his first MVP, but has only been consistently great for a few seasons. And how did they choose LaMarcus Alridge over all-time greats Dirk Nowitzki or Tim Duncan, both of whom won championships this decade?
But the All-Decade teams, like any arbitrary online ranking, are all about debate. They were released to combat the NBA’s current content lull. It’s something to get people going as sports fans’ attention naturally shifts toward NFL training camps and playoff pushes in Major League Baseball.
The NBA has done a brilliant job in recent years of stretching itself into a 12-month sport, and this year’s whirlwind free agency was the ultimate culmination. No one cares about Team USA, and Summer League is long over. So the NBA released some lazily thought out All-Decade teams to recapture the sports talk conversation for a day or two. That’s fair. But as with the actual teams themselves, I don’t have to like it.