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Choking / Cursed Franchises

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On 25/05/2018 at 6:25 AM, Gothamite said:
On 24/05/2018 at 3:24 PM, Ferdinand Cesarano said:

 

  • move into NYC, but without "New York" name

 

Wait, you think the “Brooklyn” name is a problem? :blink:

 

It is indeed a problem. The use of "Brooklyn" rather than "New York" was supposed to be cool and edgy; but it's also sub-local and exclusionary. 

 

An NBA team should be aiming for a broad base of support, not a narrow one. A typical team naturally claims its city; some teams claim a whole state (the Timberwolves and Jazz overtly; the Nuggets and Suns effectively; but not, despite their name, the Warriors). There is a team that claims a region (the Celtics), and one that claims a whole country (the Raptors).

 

And then there are the Nets, who don't even claim their entire home town. 

 

The team's purchase by a charismatic and ambitious foreign billionaire and its move into New York City created a chance for it to be rescued from the obscurity that had been imposed upon it by the NBA and the Knicks, who conspired to cripple the franchise by assessing a "territorial fee" payable to the Knicks upon its entry to the league. But the team bungled this opportunity for redemption by not reclaiming its former name "New York Nets", instead naming itself after a section of New York.

 

Some will be tempted to argue that Brooklyn has an identity of its own, apart from being a borough of New York City.  This is true.  Nevertheless, the strategy of tying an NBA team to this entity rather than to the entirety of New York City is highly questionable.  The team counted on the already-fading "hipster" cachet of the Brooklyn name, as well as the name's appeal to the Russian compatriots of the team's owner who are living in that borough, not seeming to care that the name would create a barrier to connection with the majority of the City's fans.

 

The fact is that converting existing Knick fans was always going to be impossible. The hope lay in future generations. But the use of a hyper-local name insured that future generations of kids in most of New York City would continue to adopt the Knicks as they had always done, and would have zero inclination to consider the Nets as their home team. For a kid growing up in Manhattan or in the Bronx, the Brooklyn Nets are not even on his radar; they certainly are not his hometown team, especially not when compared to the New York Knicks. 

 

The Nets could have hit their new home within New York City with a marketing campaign emphasising the team's colourful history, which included two championships in the ABA and two trips to the NBA Finals.  They could have plastered their new arena with images not only of the iconic Dr. J, but also of Rick Barry, coaches Louie Carnesecca and Kevin Loughery, Albert King, Buck Williams, Micheal Ray Richardson, Darryl Dawkins, Drazen Petrovic, Mike Gminski, and others.  They could even have trolled the Knicks by including images of Jason Kidd and Kenyon Martin, who were playing for the Knicks during the Nets' first season in New York City.

 

But rather than embracing the good within the Nets' history, marketing positioned the team as a brand new entity. Instead of playing up the legacy of flash and pizzazz that characterised the team's heyday right before the merger, and also its more recent run of greatness with Kidd and Martin and eventually Vince Carter, the team elected to adopt a very low-key aesthetic. This not only clashed badly with the entire history of the franchise, but it also emitted the stink of what "Brooklyn" was thought to represent at the time: hipsters and Russians.  It was (and is) a drab aesthetic designed to appeal less to traditional Brooklyn than to the gentrifiers. 

 

The newly-arrived Nets did manage to create a good deal of buzz at first, as they masqueraded as a power in the East after the re-signing of Deron Williams and the big trade that brought over several veterans from the Celtics.  But all of that proved illusory.  Even the return of Jason Kidd as coach quickly turned sour; and this strangely-named team that is unwilling to acknowledge its own history quickly faded into the background, where it seems to be destined to languish for eternity.

 

So we have a team which by virtue of its name pushes away people from Manhattan and the Bronx, which of course has totally blown up its meagre support from New Jersey, and which has no footprint whatsoever in the northern suburbs. The team tries to have a presence on Long Island by virtue of its G-League squad the Long Island Nets, and by playing pre-season games at the Nassau Coliseum. Pretty weak sauce, as compared to other New York teams.

 

This leaves Brooklyn itself, where the Nets' support is OK, though still well below that of the Knicks. Instead of being a real New York team, with all the big-time implications that that carries with it, the Nets have consigned themselves to the far fringes of the New York City fan culture, alongside the Devils and Islanders. And this time they can't blame the Knicks for their relegation to minor status; this one's entirely on them.

 

The Nets' story is littered with bad luck and bad breaks, but also with bad decisions.  The decision to cede the majority of New York City to the Knicks is perhaps the biggest bungle in team history.

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Couldn’t disagree more.  

 

They could have been second-fiddle in NYC, instead they’re top dogs in Brooklyn.  Your wide-net argument is the same logic that leads us to nonsense like “California Angels” and “Florida Marlins”. 

 

The name is about the best thing the Nets have going for them.  It’s tremendously valuable, even outside Brooklyn. 

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I've got to agree - in part - with Gothamite here.  Designating the team as "Brooklyn" rather than "New York" was a marketing move, and the right one to make; as Brooklyn is one of those unique areas where that level of "drill-down" actually helps rather than hurts.

 

Use of city vs. regional nomenclature is something of a mixed bag in professional sports.  In some cases there are perfectly logical reasons for using it, and in other cases it was a marketing decision; sometimes it works, and sometimes it doesn't...

 

-- The Twins and Vikings went with "Minnesota" because of the relationship between St. Paul and Minneapolis, and opted not to alienate potential fans by becoming the first teams to utilize a state designation.  It's proven a good idea for them since.

-- When the Angels moved into Anaheim from Los Angeles, Gene Autry wanted to try and promote the team throughout southern California.  It didn't really work all that well, but to this day I think of them as the "California Angels."

-- When the Warriors moved from Philadelphia they initially went by "San Francisco," but splitting home dates between Oakland and San Francisco plus having fans based in San Jose, Sacramento, Stockton and throughout the Bay Area, changing to "Golden State" was a marketing move.

-- When the Senators moved to Arlington, they weren't in Dallas nor Fort Worth, and had the same potential fan alienation prospect.  Following the Twins lead, "Texas Rangers" has proven an acceptable solution.

 

The Colorado Rockies and Florida Marlins are examples of needless regional nomenclature.  The most needless, perhaps because I'm most closely exposed to it, comes from the "Carolina" Panthers and Hurricanes.  They play on opposite ends of the state, frequently confusing fans as to which plays where; meanwhile no one would be upset if they suddenly became the Charlotte Panthers and Raleigh Hurricanes, because the fan bases are completely different and separated by a 2 1/2 hour drive from one another (it's actually a shorter drive from Raleigh to Richmond than from Raleigh to Charlotte).

 

In short, every case is different.  Had I been in charge of choosing the name when the New Jersey Nets were moving, I'd have rebranded completely, probably as the "Brooklyn Knights."  But I definitely wouldn't have used "New York."

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Brooklyn was cool for a hot minute, before the team became a laughingstock and Jay-Z jumped ship.  I don't blame them at all for embracing Brooklyn at all, as a lot of people I knew that were from there that weren't even big basketball fans ate that :censored: up immediately after the rebrand.  They would often brag about how they don't even go to Manhattan anymore because of how Brooklyn has everything they want, so I could see how neglecting to go with New York as a name could have dug into that kind of borough pride or something. 

 

IDK, this is all anecdotal as I'm not from New York myself, and of course is all moot point because now the brand is associated with crippling failure.

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What the defenders of the Brooklyn name are forgetting is that, while some people can imagine that Brooklyn is a separate city rather than part of New York City if they like, in the real world Brooklyn has no suburbs.

 

The surrounding areas are suburbs of New York; so a team representing Brooklyn means nothing on Long Island, in northern New Jersey (even without the fact that the Nets explicitly and emphatically alienated New Jersey fans), or in the Hudson Valley. Whereas all of those places are full of fans of the Knicks, as well as fans of the other New York teams.

 

9 hours ago, Gothamite said:

They could have been second-fiddle in NYC, instead they’re top dogs in Brooklyn.

 

First of all, being "top dogs in Brooklyn" doesn't amount to much if you have zero appeal outside of Brooklyn.

 

Secondly, the Nets are most definitely not top dogs in Brooklyn, as Knick fans overwhelmingly outnumber Net fans in that borough as they do in every other borough. Indeed, there are probably more fans of the Celtics and Lakers in Brooklyn than there are fans of the Nets.

 

By taking the Brooklyn name rather than the name of their city, the Nets needlessly imposed a ceiling upon themselves. Even in the fantasy scenario in which every single Knick fan in Brooklyn had switched to being a Net fan, this ceiling would still be limiting the team. In the real-world scenario, it cripples them.

 

 

9 hours ago, Gothamite said:

Your wide-net argument is the same logic that leads us to nonsense like “California Angels” and “Florida Marlins”. 

 

Nonsense. Those teams broke convention. I advocated following the standard procedure, which is naming a team after its city. The Nets broke this convention in the opposite direction to the California Angels and Florida Marlins, and became the only team named after a section of a city. In so doing, the Nets effectively traded one nowheresville for another, becoming a team with large-market costs and small-market potential.

 

That's right: Brooklyn is nowheresville. The name is not an asset but a liability.  Nobody signs with the Nets thinking they are going to the big-time. Joe Harris recently mentioned that he walks the streets and takes the subway without anyone recognising him. By contrast, such a quality player with the Knicks would be a celebrity appearing on TV talk shows and magazine covers.

 

Despite being located in the most populous city on the country, the Nets' attendance is amongst the worst in the league, and their television ratings are firmly at the bottom (even though their telecasts are superb and their announcers are outstanding).

 

Few teams would draw or get ratings with the seasons the Nets have had lately. But I'm afraid that one is fooling oneself if one refuses to acknowledge that a big part of the team's failure to attract attention is that, on account of not being called "New York", the team is unappealing to the majority of New York City's fans, in addition to being completely invisible in the city's extended region.

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I wonder if the Nets went by New York they would be well supported despite sucking.  It seems to work for the Knicks I suppose 

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Should have been the New York Nets in navy, white, and red. Maybe they can move to Belmont Park and Jellybean Omni can be torn down and replaced with public housing.

 

The Houston Rockets: chokers

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Isn't naming them the Brooklyn Nets like calling them the Arlington Cowboys or Santa Clara 49ers?

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5 hours ago, Ferdinand Cesarano said:

 

What the defenders of the Brooklyn name are forgetting is that, while some people can imagine that Brooklyn is a separate city rather than part of New York City if they like, in the real world Brooklyn has no suburbs.

 

The surrounding areas are suburbs of New York; so a team representing Brooklyn means nothing on Long Island, in northern New Jersey (even without the fact that the Nets explicitly and emphatically alienated New Jersey fans), or in the Hudson Valley. Whereas all of those places are full of fans of the Knicks, as well as fans of the other New York teams.

 

 

First of all, being "top dogs in Brooklyn" doesn't amount to much if you have zero appeal outside of Brooklyn.

 

Secondly, the Nets are most definitely not top dogs in Brooklyn, as Knick fans overwhelmingly outnumber Net fans in that borough as they do in every other borough. Indeed, there are probably more fans of the Celtics and Lakers in Brooklyn than there are fans of the Nets.

 

By taking the Brooklyn name rather than the name of their city, the Nets needlessly imposed a ceiling upon themselves. Even in the fantasy scenario in which every single Knick fan in Brooklyn had switched to being a Net fan, this ceiling would still be limiting the team. In the real-world scenario, it cripples them.

 

 

 

Nonsense. Those teams broke convention. I advocated following the standard procedure, which is naming a team after its city. The Nets broke this convention in the opposite direction to the California Angels and Florida Marlins, and became the only team named after a section of a city. In so doing, the Nets effectively traded one nowheresville for another, becoming a team with large-market costs and small-market potential.

 

That's right: Brooklyn is nowheresville. The name is not an asset but a liability.  Nobody signs with the Nets thinking they are going to the big-time. Joe Harris recently mentioned that he walks the streets and takes the subway without anyone recognising him. By contrast, such a quality player with the Knicks would be a celebrity appearing on TV talk shows and magazine covers.

 

Despite being located in the most populous city on the country, the Nets' attendance is amongst the worst in the league, and their television ratings are firmly at the bottom (even though their telecasts are superb and their announcers are outstanding).

 

Few teams would draw or get ratings with the seasons the Nets have had lately. But I'm afraid that one is fooling oneself if one refuses to acknowledge that a big part of the team's failure to attract attention is that, on account of not being called "New York", the team is unappealing to the majority of New York City's fans, in addition to being completely invisible in the city's extended region.


I just don't see any of this.  No matter what, whenever two teams are in the same city, one is always little brother.  The White Sox have been around for over 100 years and named for Chicago every bit as much as the Cubs, but the Cubs have always been much more popular.  Especially in the suburban areas you're putting so much importance on.

Besides, it's not like Brooklyn hasn't already proven itself to be able to support a major pro franchise entirely on its own.  I say wait until they have a team worth supporting again before writing them off.  It's not like the Knicks didn't have attendance woes during their dark periods.

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On 5/24/2018 at 4:22 PM, Mac the Knife said:

Some here are confusing "cursed" or "choking" with just plain "stupid."

 

The Cleveland Browns are not cursed.  They do not choke.  Their organization, since 1999, has just from top to bottom been plain stupid.

 

The-Fumble.jpg

 

Yeah I know it's not the same Browns, but it counts for this IMO.

 

 

19 hours ago, smzimbabwe said:

Isn't naming them the Brooklyn Nets like calling them the Arlington Cowboys or Santa Clara 49ers?

 

No.

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21 hours ago, the admiral said:

Should have been the New York Nets in navy, white, and red. Maybe they can move to Belmont Park and Jellybean Omni can be torn down and replaced with public housing.

 

The Houston Rockets: chokers

 

Not in a world where 1994 and 1995 happened.

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On 5/24/2018 at 4:22 PM, Mac the Knife said:

Some here are confusing "cursed" or "choking" with just plain "stupid."

The Cleveland Browns are not cursed.  They do not choke.  Their organization, since 1999, has just from top to bottom been plain stupid.

 

 

How about the post 1964 original Browns? Most people think the bulk of the original Browns misery was born in the 80's, but it actually started much earlier. This team had a shot at playing in five of the first seven Super Bowls. 

 

Lost to the Cowboys in the divisional round of the '67 playoffs. 

Lost the '68 Conference Championship game to the Colts and missed a shot at going to Super Bowl III. 

*Lost the '69 Conference Championship game to the Vikings and missed a shot at going to Super Bowl IV.

Lost to the Colts in the divisional round of the '71 playoffs. 

Lost to the Dolphins in the divisional round of the '72 playoffs.

 

Then we move on to the 80's...

 

Lost to the Raiders in divisional round of the '80 playoffs. The infamous "Red Right 88" game. 

Lost to the Raiders again in the '82 strike season playoffs. (This one wasn't a big deal. The Browns were 4-5 going into the playoffs and they weren't very good.)

Lost to the Dolphins in the divisional round of the '85 playoffs - blowing a 21-3 lead in the process.

Lost to the Broncos in the '86 AFC Championship Game - some of you may know this one as "The Drive." 

Lost to the Broncos in the '87 AFC Championship Game - after storming back from a 21-3 deficit, Earnest Byner fumbles while going in for the TD that could have tied the game - some of you may know this one as "The Fumble.

Lost to the Oilers in the Wildcard Round of the '88 playoffs - despite the fact that the legend known as Don Strock was the starting QB in this game. 

Lost to the Broncos in the '89 AFC Championship Game -some of you may know this one as "the one no one remembers."

 

Finally, there was the improbable '94 team. A young coach by the name of Bill Belichick took a team that has no business being 11-5 to an 11-5 record and a Wildcard round playoff win over the New England Patriots. The following week, the Browns went to Pittsburgh to take on the Steelers. For some reason, the Browns didn't bother to get off the plane and the Steelers won easily. 

 

The players and coaches left Cleveland after the '95 season, but, I guess, the "team" stuck around and was dormant until the 1999 season. In 1999, the team went from being "cursed" or "chokers" to flat out stupid and here we are. 

 

*The 1969 NFL Championship Game was the first of what would end up being many, many times that the Browns crushed my spirit as a fan. I was 8 years old and I was inconsolable after they lost to the Vikings. I should have bailed and headed for Pittsburgh right then and there. 

 

 

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I was just coming to mention that the original Browns were in fact seemingly cursed. Whereas the modern incarnation is just depressingly incompetent. The original Browns made three out of four AFC championship games, losing each to the Broncos, who themselves were a choke happy franchise until 97. 

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2 hours ago, Red Wolf said:

I was just coming to mention that the original Browns were in fact seemingly cursed. Whereas the modern incarnation is just depressingly incompetent. The original Browns made three out of four AFC championship games, losing each to the Broncos, who themselves were a choke happy franchise until 97. 

 

The Browns have played in a total of five conference title games in the Super Bowl era and they lost each and every one of them. Outside the '86 and '87 losses to Denver, the playoff loss that bugs me the most is losing to Miami in '85. The Browns had a 21-3 lead over Marino's Dolphins. They flat out dominated the first half of that game. Then Marty Schottenheimer did what he does and started playing not to lose. Next thing you know, the clock hits zero and the Dolphins win 24-21. That one was a killer too. 

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How about that purple and orange-clad basketball team that resides at 201 East Jefferson Street in downtown Phoenix, Arizona?

 

They're still top-ten all-time in winning percentage among active franchises (currently sixth), but for the longest while, they were fourth, behind the Spurs, Lakers, and Celtics (sometimes the order would change, depending who was better year-to-year).  With that, the Suns were also the winningest franchise in NBA history to never win a championship, but in the last few years, their neighbors up north in Salt Lake City has since surpassed them in all-time win percentage but barely (Utah's 53.8 percent versus Phoenix's 53.5 percent).  If you exclude the Seattle SuperSonics portion of the Thunder's "shared history", they've won 61.7 percent of their games since Clay Bennett and his late co-owner stole the team from Seattle.

 

Also among active franchises born and bred in the NBA, Phoenix has made the most playoff appearances (29) without winning a title; the Nuggets, counting their ABA years, have made the playoffs 33 times (5 in ABA, 28 in NBA), but no title (so far) in either Association. 

 

Back to the Suns...obviously the first big "curse" was them losing out on the #1 pick in the 1969 draft to expansion-mate Milwaukee on a coin flip, and the man that became Kareem Abdul-Jabbar won a NBA title two years later.  Meanwhile, the Suns finished with 48 and 49 wins in consecutive seasons ('70-71 and '71-72), and missed the playoffs both times--they also happened to be in the same division (Midwest) with Kareem & Oscar, the Sloan-Love-Walker Bulls, and the Lanier-Bing Pistons, and Milwaukee and Chicago finished 1-2 in the division both years.  After 1969-70, the Suns didn't make the playoffs again until 1976 (the "Cinderella Suns"), and were pretty much a consistent playoff participant from there on (although they missed the playoffs in '77).  Besides '71 and '72, there were two other times the Suns finished with a winning record, but missed the playoffs: 46-36 in '08-09,and  48-34 in '13-14 (their last recent winning season).  On the opposite spectrum, they've made the playoffs three times with a losing record--39-43 in '69-70, 36-46 in '84-85, and 40-42 in '96-97.

 

Their late 70s/mid-80s playoff run came to an end thanks to the Walter Davis drug trial, but in the meantime, by 1987, a controlling stake in the franchise was sold to Jerry Colangelo and a group of partners, from the original owners, which in turn jump-started a run that included a new downtown arena, Charles Barkley being added to an already pretty-stacked roster, the '93 Finals run (losing to you know who), by 1996, Barkley and Colangelo feuded (which to led to Chuck's trade to Houston), and Kevin Johnson being a shell of himself by then.  Then, also the series of questionable trades and signings before and after:  Dan Majerle for "Hot Rod" Williams, giving Danny Manning what was then the biggest contract in franchise history but was pretty much a mediocre player for a mediocre team, which in turn led to the "what could have been Backcourt 2000" (made possible by getting Penny Hardaway in a sign-and-trade, with Manning, Pat Garrity, and two future draft picks [one of which was Amar'e Stoudemire, which came back to Phoenix via trading Bo Outlaw]).  They had to wait until Steve Nash came back from hanging with Mark Cuban and Dirk Nowitzki in Dallas in '04 to get back into some sort of title contention, but with Colangelo selling to Banker Bob from Tucson, coupled with Nash and Stoudemire's injuries (and their eventual departures, Colangelo and son included), they're now currently sitting in their longest rebuilding period in franchise history--no playoffs since 2010, and no winning record since 2014.

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58 minutes ago, MadmanLA said:

by 1987, a controlling stake in the franchise was sold to Jerry Colangelo and a group of partners, from the original owners, which in turn jump-started a run that included a new downtown arena

 

Speaking of 1987, that's the year that they finished second in the Draft Lottery behind the Spurs.

 

San Antonio ends up with David Robinson, & the Suns pass up on Scottie Pippen to take UNLV bust Armon Gilliam 2nd overall.

 

Also, in 1993, they made a trade to acquire Dennis Rodman from Detroit, but it fell through because Richard Dumas (a good young talent that they sent to Detroit) was suspended for drugs.

 

If those Suns teams would have had The Admiral and Rodman along with Barkley, they get at least one title, and maybe another.

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On 5/26/2018 at 9:17 PM, Ferdinand Cesarano said:

What the defenders of the Brooklyn name are forgetting is that, while some people can imagine that Brooklyn is a separate city rather than part of New York City if they like, in the real world Brooklyn has no suburbs.

 

The surrounding areas are suburbs of New York; so a team representing Brooklyn means nothing on Long Island, in northern New Jersey (even without the fact that the Nets explicitly and emphatically alienated New Jersey fans), or in the Hudson Valley. Whereas all of those places are full of fans of the Knicks, as well as fans of the other New York teams.

 

And that's exactly the problem with branding as a Brooklyn team. Nobody outside of the 69 square miles of Brooklyn cares about a "Brooklyn" team. They're ever-so-slightly on the radar in Queens. They're barely on the radar on Long Island. They're practically non-existent in the other three boroughs and the Hudson Valley. And in Jersey, there's either fans who feel abandoned by the team's move, or who begrudgingly went along with rooting for the Brooklyn Nets.

 

A New York team has a metropolitan area of 22 million+ to identify with. A Brooklyn team has a borough of 2.5 million to identify with. There is no "Brooklyn metropolitan area." It isn't grabbing any fans in the other four boroughs or in the suburbs, except for a small number of Brooklyn ex-pats. (Moreso native Brooklynites than former Brooklyn transplants who migrated up to Westchester or out to Jersey when they decide to have kids, and didn't want to shell out half of Bill Gates' fortune for a private school in Park Slope.) The Knicks are still the only NBA team that matters in the overwhelming majority of the Tri-State area.

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12 hours ago, DnBronc said:

 

Speaking of 1987, that's the year that they finished second in the Draft Lottery behind the Spurs.

 

San Antonio ends up with David Robinson, & the Suns pass up on Scottie Pippen to take UNLV bust Armon Gilliam 2nd overall.

 

Also, in 1993, they made a trade to acquire Dennis Rodman from Detroit, but it fell through because Richard Dumas (a good young talent that they sent to Detroit) was suspended for drugs.

 

If those Suns teams would have had The Admiral and Rodman along with Barkley, they get at least one title, and maybe another.

 

I'm thinking a Suns team with those three probably wins a bunch of titles. Rodman's defense and rebounding combined with the offensive fire power of Robinson and Barkley would have been pretty great on its own. Now add this to the mix...

 

Assuming they get Robinson in '87 and Rodman for Dumas is the only deal they make that season, the '93 Suns would have had to be a heavy favorite to win the title. Besides the big three of Robinson, Barkley, and Rodman, that team also has in their prime Kevin Johnson and Dan Majerle. Cedric Ceballos was a very solid player at the time, and you got a pretty good defender/rebounder coming off the bench in AC Green. 

 

Damn, I wish that had happened. That version of the Suns would have been a lot of fun to watch

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12 hours ago, infrared41 said:

The Browns have played in a total of five conference title games in the Super Bowl era and they lost each and every one of them. Outside the '86 and '87 losses to Denver, the playoff loss that bugs me the most is losing to Miami in '85. The Browns had a 21-3 lead over Marino's Dolphins. They flat out dominated the first half of that game. Then Marty Schottenheimer did what he does and started playing not to lose. Next thing you know, the clock hits zero and the Dolphins win 24-21. That one was a killer too. 

 

I don't consider either version of the Cleveland Browns cursed.  The defeats of the 1980's, while painful to watch as a fan, might have been a bit of karmic (sp?) payback for all the winning they did in the first ten years of the team's existence (10 straight league championship game appearances, and 7 wins including 5 straight).

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On 5/27/2018 at 1:33 AM, smzimbabwe said:

Isn't naming them the Brooklyn Nets like calling them the Arlington Cowboys or Santa Clara 49ers?

 

No. 

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