Should players be defined by a championship
After the Pittsburgh Penguins hoisted the Stanley Cup as National Hockey League champions, you have to feel for the other guys.
Guys like Patrick Marleau and Joe Thornton are the first pair to come to mind. That clip of Marleau watching the celebration unfolding in front of him, with his face propped up by the stick in front of him and a look of extreme disappointment on his face, painted what the Cup meant to him.
Thornton, Marleau and their teammates were two games from helping them shed the ‘loser’ label when it came to the playoffs. A win on the biggest stage in pro hockey would’ve helped cement them as legit superstars — I believe they are, but what do I know — and provide an answer to the ‘ Can they win the big one?’ question.
It hurts for them. They were this close to a championship and now they have to start over.
There is never a guarantee you can get back. That’s what makes starting over so painful.
Sometimes, you’re lucky as a pro athlete and you get a couple of cracks at a championship. For others, that one finals appearance in a career is the only time they’ve been in reach of a trophy.
They all strive for that one championship. They only want one, but often times that escapes them.
Pro sports are a grind. First, it’s the long regular seasons; regular trips across the country and then comes the playoffs.
Mundane players really need it, but do the great ones?
Do the truly great players of the game need to have that championship to validate their careers?
In my opinion, I don’t think it really matters to the great ones. Jim Kelly is a Hall of Fame quarterback even though he whiffed on four straight NFL title games.
Karl Malone is the second highest scorer in NBA history, but he doesn’t have a championship. Does that make his career a waste?
No, definitely not. It goes for Charles Barkley and Reggie Miller too.
But, those are older examples. Take Jarome Iginla for example. Great player, no titles.
Got really close with the Flames in 2004, but he hasn’t been back since. That doesn’t take away the fact, he’s a great player.
Carmelo Anthony may never reach the NBA Finals and in the grand scheme of things, it really doesn’t matter.
The level these guys played at during their careers isn’t diminished by not having a title.
The players strive to be the best. It’s ingrained in their DNA.
They need it and they crave it. Their entire lives they’ve been the best and they need to reach that pinnacle or it’s a waste.
They need that long-lasting value to put their careers in perspective.
However, the great ones shouldn’t be defined by championships. Their legacy shouldn’t be tied to a championship.
They all want one, but they don’t need it.
Would Michael Jordan’s career and impact on the game have been any less significant if he hadn’t won six championships?
Nicholas Mercer is a reporter/photographer with The Compass in Carbonear. He lives in Bay Roberts and can be reached at email@example.com