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The Face of the Team: NBA Edition


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Boston: Larry Bird

New York: Patrick Ewing

Philadelphia: Allen Iverson

New Jersey: Drazen Petrovic

Toronto: Vince Carter

Chicago: Michael Jordan

Indiana: Reggie Miller

Milwaukee: Oscar Robertson

Detroit: Isiah Thomas

Cleveland: LeBron James

Miami: Alonzo Mourning

Orlando: Shaquille O'Neal

Atlanta: Dominique Wilkins

Charlotte Bobcats: Emeka Okafor

Washington: Manute Bol

Seattle/Oklahoma City: Gary Payton (or Shawn Kemp.)

Denver: Alex English (or Dikembe Mutombo.)

Portland: Bill Walton

Utah: John Stockton and Karl Malone

Minnesota: Kevin Garnett

Lakers: Magic Johnson

Phoenix: Steve Nash

Golden State: Run-T.M.C.

Clippers: Blake Griffin (or Sam Cassell.)

Sacramento: Mitch Richmond (or Peja Stojakovic.)

San Antonio: David Robinson and Tim Duncan

Dallas: Dirk Nowitzki

Charlotte/New Orleans Hornets: Larry Johnson (or Muggsy Bogues.)

Memphis: Shane Battier (or Pau Gasol.)

Houston: Hakeem Olajuwon

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I think you mostly got them right. I'd say Lew Alcindor for the Bucks (I think you meant Oscar Robertson), Wes Unseld for the Bullets, Wilt Chamberlain for the Warriors, Vlade Divac or Chris Webber for the Kings, and Jason Kidd for the Nets. (Funny-sad how three of those guys double as notable Lakers.) Basketball's faces of franchises are a lot harder to dispute than the other three leagues', because it's just the nature of the sport and all.

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I can't think of any other choices besides maybe Sam Cassell. Danny Manning and Bob McAdoo were good but not the face of the team, Bill Walton hardly played, Elton Brand is loathed by the fanbase now, and Baron Davis basically sulked his way through his entire time with the Clippers.

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Boston: Larry Bird

New York: Patrick Ewing

Philadelphia: Wilt Chamberlain

New Jersey: Jason Kidd

Toronto: Vince Carter

Chicago: Michael Jordan

Indiana: Reggie Miller

Milwaukee: Oscar Robertson

Detroit: Isiah Thomas

Cleveland: LeBron James

Miami: Dwyane Wade

Orlando: Shaquille O'Neal

Atlanta: Dominique Williams

Charlotte Bobcats: Emeka Okafor

Washington: Wes Unseld

Seattle/Oklahoma City: Shawn Kemp

Denver: Carmelo Anthony

Portland: Bill Walton

Utah: Karl Malone

Minnesota: Kevin Garnett

Lakers: Magic Johnson

Phoenix: Dan Majerle

Golden State: Chris Mullin

Clippers: Blake Griffin

Sacramento: Chris Webber

San Antonio: Tim Duncan

Dallas: Dirk Nowitzki

Charlotte/New Orleans Hornets: Larry Johnson

Memphis: Zach Randolph

Houston: Hakeem Olajuwon

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Looks pretty good. All of my changes were already mentioned by admiral (Kidd, Unseld, and Webber.) The Grizzlies isn't exactly enticing either. I'd put down Bryant Reeves for them. Joking aside, maybe Shareef Abdur-Rahim? That's really a tough one.

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Dwight Howard is more the face of the Magic than Shaq.

I don't think so. Shaq (along with Penny) really put ORL on the NBA map, very early in their existence. Also, he lead them to 2 NBA Finals (whereas Dwight only lead them to 1, and I don't really see him leading them to another one anytime soon).

EDIT: My bad.

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Larry Bird v. Bill Russell is a tough call, but the unflagging whiteness of Boston and the Celtics puts Bird on top. Bill Russell may be a better basketball player and thus a better Celtic than Larry Bird, but you can bet your bottom dollar that Bird's success as a white man (and by extension, his '80s teams) in a black man's sport is what defines pro basketball in New England.

EDIT: this goes for Steve Nash to a lesser extent

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Oscar Robertson is the face of the entire franchise now known as the Kings, that being with the Cincinnati Royals.

You have to strongly consider Jerry West for the Lakers. He is, after all, The Logo.

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Hawks - Dominique Wilkins

Celtics - Larry Bird

Bobcats - Still a young team, but for me it's Emeka Okafor or Raymond Felton.

Bulls - Michael Jordan

Cavaliers - LeBron James

Mavericks - Dirk Nowitzki

Nuggets - Alex English

Pistons - Isiah Thomas

Warriors - Rick Barry

Rockets - Hakeem Olajuwon

Pacers - Reggie Miller

Clippers - Loy Vaught

Lakers - Magic Johnson

Grizzlies - Shane Battier

Heat - Alonzo Mourning/Dwayne Wade

Bucks - Oscar Robertson/Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

Timberwolves - Kevin Garnett

Nets - Jason Kidd/Drazen Petrovic

Hornets - Larry Johnson/Alonzo Mourning/Chris Paul

Knicks - Willis Reed

Thunder/Sonics - as OKC: Kevin Durant, as SEA: Gary Payton

Magic - Shaquille O' Neal/Dwight Howard

76ers - Wilt Chamberlain

Suns - Charles Barkley/Steve Nash

Blazers - Bill Walton

Kings - Chris Webber

Spurs - Tim Duncan/David Robinson

Raptors - Vince Carter

Jazz - John Stockton and Karl Malone

Bullets/Wizards - Wes Unseld

Again, like my other sports lists, this was put together by writing the first name(s) I thought of when thinking of a team.

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I think you're jumping the gun on Blake Griffin.

I thought the same thing, but I couldn't come up with anyone better. Can you?

My first thoughts are Danny Manning or Ron Harper, but that may have something to do with the amount of NBA Jam I've played in my lifetime.

Also, I love your pick for Phoenix. Thunder Dan!

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Larry Bird v. Bill Russell is a tough call, but the unflagging whiteness of Boston and the Celtics puts Bird on top. Bill Russell may be a better basketball player and thus a better Celtic than Larry Bird, but you can bet your bottom dollar that Bird's success as a white man (and by extension, his '80s teams) in a black man's sport is what defines pro basketball in New England.

EDIT: this goes for Steve Nash to a lesser extent

:blink:

I don't really know what to say to that one. We've all heard the accusations that Boston is a whitey racist town, but Russell has Ted Williams status up here when it comes to basketball (which is admittedly not as ingrained into our blood as baseball is). He is the mythical legend from long ago. Most people actually saw Bird play so that might give him more current relevance, but.... okay, honestly, my mind is shooting off into a thousand directions. Is Russ more of a legend if he is white? I don't think that I can say no. But those teams were so integrated, and his accomplishments were unquestionably superior to Bird's. It's just that no one saw him play. Then again, everyone knows Cousy...

One thing I can say for sure is that you are wayyyy oversimplifying things. I think if we are talking in this region, the "face of the Celtics" might actually be a pretty even split between Pierce, Bird, and Russell. No one defaults to Bird because he is white, and no one thinks Celtic dominance started (or was at its peak) in the 80s.

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Boston: Larry Bird

New York: Patrick Ewing (followed closely by Willis Reed)

Philadelphia: Julius Erving

New Jersey: Drazen Petrovic

Toronto: Vince Carter

Chicago: Michael Jordan

Indiana: Reggie Miller

Milwaukee: Oscar Robertson

Detroit: Isiah Thomas

Cleveland: Mark Price (although World B. Free is a close second)

Miami: Alonzo Mourning

Orlando: Shaquille O'Neal

Atlanta: Dominique Wilkins

Charlotte Bobcats: NA

Washington: Wes Unseld

Seattle: Gary Payton

Denver: Alex English

Portland: Bill Walton

Utah: John Stockton

Minnesota: Kevin Garnett

Lakers: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

Phoenix: Larry Nance

Golden State: Rick Barry

Clippers: Danny Manning

Sacramento/Kansas City: Tiny Archibald

San Antonio: George Gervin

Dallas: Rolando Blackman

Charlotte/New Orleans Hornets: Larry Johnson/Muggsy Bogues

Memphis/Vancouver: Bryant Reeves

Houston: Hakeem Olajuwon

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Larry Bird v. Bill Russell is a tough call, but the unflagging whiteness of Boston and the Celtics puts Bird on top. Bill Russell may be a better basketball player and thus a better Celtic than Larry Bird, but you can bet your bottom dollar that Bird's success as a white man (and by extension, his '80s teams) in a black man's sport is what defines pro basketball in New England.

EDIT: this goes for Steve Nash to a lesser extent

:blink:

I don't really know what to say to that one. We've all heard the accusations that Boston is a whitey racist town, but Russell has Ted Williams status up here when it comes to basketball (which is admittedly not as ingrained into our blood as baseball is). He is the mythical legend from long ago. Most people actually saw Bird play so that might give him more current relevance, but.... okay, honestly, my mind is shooting off into a thousand directions. Is Russ more of a legend if he is white? I don't think that I can say no. But those teams were so integrated, and his accomplishments were unquestionably superior to Bird's. It's just that no one saw him play. Then again, everyone knows Cousy...

One thing I can say for sure is that you are wayyyy oversimplifying things. I think if we are talking in this region, the "face of the Celtics" might actually be a pretty even split between Pierce, Bird, and Russell. No one defaults to Bird because he is white, and no one thinks Celtic dominance started (or was at its peak) in the 80s.

I agree with admiral on this, though. I don't think he was saying that Boston is a racist city, he was just saying that Bird being a white athlete in a sport dominated by blacks made him easier to embrace by a largely white fan base (and area).

Part of why I picked Bird because he was considered a big "foe" of Michael Jordan, which automatically makes him well-known. You are right about Celtic dominance not starting in the 80's, but that's when NBA really got big IMO, which is why my mind goes straight to Bird when I think of the Celtics.

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Boston: Bill Russell

New York: Patrick Ewing

Philadelphia: Julius Erving

New Jersey: Jason Kidd

Toronto: Vince Carter

Chicago: MJ

Indiana: Reggie Miller

Milwaukee: Michael Redd (sue me)

Detroit: Joe Dumars (b/c of his playing/executive-ing duties. Otherwise Laimbeer.)

Cleveland: LeBron James

Miami: Dwyane Wade

Orlando: Dwight Howard

Atlanta: Dominique

Charlotte Bobcats: Gerald Wallace

Washington: Gilbert Arenas

Seattle/Oklahoma City: Gary Payton

Denver: Carmelo Anthony

Portland: Clyde Drexler

Utah: Karl Malone/John Stockton (hand in hand)

Minnesota: Kevin Garnett

Lakers: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

Phoenix: Steve Nash

Golden State: No one

Clippers: Elton Brand

Sacramento: Chris Webber

San Antonio: David Robinson

Dallas: Dirk Nowitzki

Charlotte/New Orleans Hornets: Chris Paul

Memphis: Big Country Reeves

Houston: Hakeem Olajuwon

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Larry Bird v. Bill Russell is a tough call, but the unflagging whiteness of Boston and the Celtics puts Bird on top. Bill Russell may be a better basketball player and thus a better Celtic than Larry Bird, but you can bet your bottom dollar that Bird's success as a white man (and by extension, his '80s teams) in a black man's sport is what defines pro basketball in New England.

EDIT: this goes for Steve Nash to a lesser extent

:blink:

I don't really know what to say to that one. We've all heard the accusations that Boston is a whitey racist town, but Russell has Ted Williams status up here when it comes to basketball (which is admittedly not as ingrained into our blood as baseball is). He is the mythical legend from long ago. Most people actually saw Bird play so that might give him more current relevance, but.... okay, honestly, my mind is shooting off into a thousand directions. Is Russ more of a legend if he is white? I don't think that I can say no. But those teams were so integrated, and his accomplishments were unquestionably superior to Bird's. It's just that no one saw him play. Then again, everyone knows Cousy...

One thing I can say for sure is that you are wayyyy oversimplifying things. I think if we are talking in this region, the "face of the Celtics" might actually be a pretty even split between Pierce, Bird, and Russell. No one defaults to Bird because he is white, and no one thinks Celtic dominance started (or was at its peak) in the 80s.

I agree with admiral on this, though. I don't think he was saying that Boston is a racist city, he was just saying that Bird being a white athlete in a sport dominated by blacks made him easier to embrace by a largely white fan base (and area).

Part of why I picked Bird because he was considered a big "foe" of Michael Jordan, which automatically makes him well-known. You are right about Celtic dominance not starting in the 80's, but that's when NBA really got big IMO, which is why my mind goes straight to Bird when I think of the Celtics.

OK, after re-reading I get what you're saying. "Whiteness" is distinctly different from "racism," but forgive me for connecting the two since it's not an uncommon opinion. I'm trying to imagine what life would be like if Russell were white and Bird were black. I honestly don't think Bird's past nor current status would be altered (much because of the '80s rise of the NBA and how that took precedent), but I do think Russell's legend would have been even larger had he been white. I still disagree that it "defines" pro basketball though.

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Russell's legend is as large as it is precisely because he was a black man fearlessly excelling in a city that didn't exactly embrace him. I wouldn't say Boston is a racist city today, but it sure as hell was in Russell's time.

Bird being white certainly helped him as the NBA came of age in the 1980s, with his Celtics representing white basketball against the Lakers' black basketball. I mean, that's how it was framed. There's no way around it.

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