Wednesday, November 12, 2008

In praise of the superstar

Over at MR, Tyler writes an ode to the superstar. He argues that team players do less to "benefit society" than does the selfish superstar.

I largely agree, except that Tyler appears to believe that being a selfish superstar or a team player is a matter of choice, and that winning does not help raise the fame of a superstar.

I think both these beliefs are false.

Winning adds to the luster and fame of stars. how often do we hear that a superstar doesn't "have a ring" or that one has more rings than the other.

Superstars are not team players no matter what team they are on (nor should they be for the reasons Tyler gives).

The team players are marginal talents who can earn a good paycheck and some amount of "inside baseball" fame by doing what is needed for overall success. Shane Battier, call your office.

Ironically, too many superstars can be counterproductive to team performance.

Looking at the NBA, it seems that in the long run, one per team is about the max. Shaq and Kobe couldn't stay together. Pippen was nowhere near a superstar. In Boston's big 3, Ray Allen is a one dimensional player and very far from a superstar.

The closest thing to a counter example of my general point is Kevin Garnett; a superstar who really seems unselfish. Note that Starbury couldn't accept being on Garnett's team. From the past, maybe Magic would qualify.

So winning is part of the superstar's fame building and winning requires team players who help on defense while the superstar rests, set picks for the superstar, pass instead of shoot, and rebound.

Any team player would rather be a superstar but they don't have the skilz.

The worst situation is when a player whose skill set says team player tries to take it upon himself to be the superstar (phone call for Ricky Davis).


Will Welch said...

And then there's the handful of guys who become almost the superstars of the 'team player' set - guys who are so well known as team players that they're looked at as the central missing piece to a lot of teams. Robert Horry has seven rings with three different teams. Steve Kerr has five.

Angus said...

good point Will. James Posey is probably that guy now that Bob and Steve are out of the Association