Many young people around our age may not remember the dynamic duo of Stockton and Malone, most NBA aficionados would know that they were a force to be reckon with. They were two transcendent superstars that were, at times, almost unguardable. But unfortunately, for the duo, they just so happened to play in a time in the NBA known as “the Michael Jordan era”. It was an era for the NBA when teams failed to reach their ultimate goal year-by-year, all because of one superstar and an unstoppable Chicago Bulls franchise. The Bulls’ greatness should not take away from Stockton and Malone’s greatness, and for most NBA fans, it doesn’t. I bring up the 90s Utah Jazz because, once again, the Oklahoma City Thunder have failed to meet their superstars ultimate goal of an NBA championship. Westbrook and Durant could easily be considered this generations two most dynamic players: you have a point guard in Russell Westbrook who may be the most athletic player the league has ever seen, and you have an MVP in Kevin Durant who may go down as the greatest scorer in NBA history. Both are once-in-a-decade type talents, but unfortunately for these two great players, they just so happened to play in the latter stages of the San Antonio Spurs dynasty, and the prime of Lebron James’ dominance of the NBA. It may be a little premature, but I’m beginning to wonder if Westbrook and Durant will ever reach their ultimate goal. It doesn’t take anything away from their basketball greatness, they just unfortunately have to play in an era that is dominated by a legendary franchise and player. On top of that, the western conference is not getting any easier.
Stockton and Malone will always be in the NBA history books as two of the greatest players ever, but they will never be recognized as champions. Not because of their incompetence, but because of the legend known as Michael Jordan. Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook may be placed right next to Stockton and Malone in the history books, because the Spurs keep finding the fountain of youth, and the King continues to rule his throne. It will remain to be seen if these two players keep coming up short of winning their ultimate goal year-by-year.
What do you think? Have they just ran into the wrong era to win a championship, or will they eventually break through and hold up the Larry O’Brian trophy?