Positive or negative, nothing about the past can be altered.
That’s what’s peculiar about nostalgia. Regardless of what happens, the question of the unknown always lingers. Rarely does this happen anywhere more often than with sports. In an environment that thrives on the never-ending wheeling and dealings of trades, releases and free agency, complacency will never assume itself as characteristic familiar with those who call themselves “fans.” The NBA is a league which creates dynasties as quickly as it destroys them, so the mere impact of one decision can effectively make or break a franchise.
But what about the aborted decisions? À la Pau Gasol to Cleveland in early ’07 or Durant to Portland #1 overall. The ones which never spawned into reality, and the ones that don’t even seem reasonable given the way the following sequence of events played out. Over the past twenty years, Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant have arguably been the sport’s most competitive forces. They have combined for 11 championships, six regular season MVP’s, eight Finals MVP’s, 26 All Star Game appearances and countless number of game winners. Yeah, for the most part, history has treated the two favorably.
Basking in their glory is fine, but wondering “what if?” is even better. Jadakiss even made a song about it. You see, His Airness – through the unintentional influence of Scottie Pippen – and The Mamba were involved in quite possibly the two greatest missed opportunities in NBA recent memory.