As I approach the ripe old age of 40 and the gray hairs keep on popping in like a bag of Microwaveable Orville Redenbacher (old white dude who sells popcorn in America if you don’t catch my drift), I do my best to imagine that forty just isn’t that old. Which it isn’t. Really, it isn’t.
But it’s not the number that lets me know I’m creeping up in years, it’s more like the glitches in the space-time continuum that make me feel my age (seriously, this Back to the Future reference alone ought to do it).
For example, the other day Pour Some Sugar on Me came on the radio and I was totally rocking out, doing scissor kicks off the sofa and banging my head. It then occurred to me that Def Leppard released this song 27 bloody years ago! Half of the people reading this article weren’t even born when Rick Allen was one-arm drumming his way into Rock ‘n Roll lore.
And The Same Goes For The NBA
When I was a kid I remember my dad getting all nostalgic about the star players of his youth, droning on and on about Connie Hawkins dropping threes back when they were still only worth 2 points, and Chocolate Thunder exploding backboards before the advent of break-away rims.
Of course I yawned internally about all these old-time players who wore ridiculous 70s shorts that barely covered their jock-straps.
And something dawned on me recently…when I talk about Michael Jordan, Larry Bird, Magic Johnson, Isaiah Thomas, Kareem, Drexler, Malone and Stockton, and so on, these names mean nothing to kids today. I mean, yeah, they know the names, just as I knew Wilt Chamberlain, Bill Russell, and Pistol Pete, but they’re nothing but ghosts of the past in their eyes compared to LeBron, Kobe, and Kevin Durant.
But before I get into why I think this phenomenon is all going to change. Here’s a short history lesson for the young fans who think Terrence Ross is the greatest dunker of all-time: Dr. J is the greatest dunker of all-time. He’s like the Swiss guy who first added milk to the bitter Aztec drink called chocolatl, or the fast food genius who first rested a slice of bacon on his cheeseburger. Dr. J laid the groundwork for every single dunk that has ever wowed you. Terrence Ross is the greatest dunker of 2013, but it’s seriously worth a few minutes of your YouTube time to take a look at his slamming, jamming forefather in action.
YouTube, Carbonite For Today’s Superstars
Do you remember when Han Solo was encased in carbonite by the Empire to preserve his body for shipment to Jabba the Hutt? Of course you don’t. But you definitely know about Dr. Evil being cryogenically frozen, so we’ll run with that analogy instead.
Back in the day, the only way to relive the past was to slide a copy of Sports Illustrated’s Dazzling Dunks and Basketball Bloopers into the VCR (I was so jealous that Ryan McGinnis had this tape; his dad also got the Playboy channel), but nowadays we’ve got YouTube, and millions of fans are cataloging the hottest dunks and most clutch shots from every game for our repeated viewing pleasure. What else are we supposed to do in the office? Work?
In 2014, it’s super easy to get in touch with our roots and relive the action of past NBA seasons. Face it, not everyone can simply play for 100 years like Tim Duncan (14-time NBA All-Star), so it’s great that there’s now a way for fans to capture their favorite NBA moments (even if the videos generally lack proper licensing rights).
Just today I was watching the Top Ten Plays from last year’s playoffs and it had me wishing that this season would just go ahead and wrap up so that we could get back into the elimination rounds.
From the Spurs’ Manu Ginóbili’s game winning 3 at the waning moments of double overtime against the Warriors in Game 1 of the Western Conference semi-finals, to LeBron James’ triple-double (30pts, 10rebs, 10asts) and game winning buzzer-beater lay-up against the Pacers, and on to the most memorable shot of the season, Ray Allen’s game-tying trey that sent Game 6 of the Finals into overtime. It was 5 minutes and 35 seconds of pure goosebumps.
YouTube will change the face of how fathers of tomorrow teach their sons about the 5-on-5 heroes of their day. When comparing the magical first three seasons of Derrick Rose to some fictional future young up-start phenom, you won’t be limited to a statistical analysis: rookie of the year, 2nd year All-Star, youngest player (22) ever to win the league MVP, third ever player to record 2,000 points and 600 assists in a single season (Jordan, James). You can just click, search, click, and BAM, there’s Derrick Rose doing “dunk contest” style slams in the middle of a game.
My Real Point Here Is
The whole idea of this article is not for me to take my own trip down memory lane, but instead to point out the fact that moving forward, NBA Superstars are going to be Trans-Generational.
Young fans will have access to every shot, every pass, and every game of all time at their fingertips, so there will be no excuse for kids to get bored when their old man talks up the Heat as the greatest team of all time.
So, when the little man in your life starts telling you all about the 2034 Milwaukee Bucks and how they’re simply unbeatable (it could happen), just fire back, “You’d better Google Dwyane Wade, son.”
And oh yeah, I just looked it up and Orville Redenbacher died in 1995 after suffering a heart attack and drowning in his hot tub. At least he chose a hell of a way to go.