March 27, 2023

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Chelsea have three wins in a row – has Potter corrected the situation? Or just bad luck?

When I listened to Jackie McMullen’s Icons Club podcast series , I tried to articulate what makes an NBA player an icon. At first it seemed to me that the concept of “cult” is appropriate here, but it also does not fully reflect the requirements for joining the Club. Allen Iverson, for example, was a 100% cult player, but McMullen’s list of Icons never mentions him.

“Icons” according to McMullen are players who overcame the boundaries of the sports perception of the individual and became socially important figures. Michael Jordan comes to the Club as the one who took the marketing appeal of NBA players to a new level. Magic and Byrd are like players whose rivalry has breathed new life into the league. Chamberlain and Russell were pillars of the league’s early history and embodied the athletes’ different views of their own status as a public figure (Wilt was more of a hedonist, Bill was more of an activist). Julius Irving brought the voice of the streets to the NBA – he may have ousted Iverson from the list as a trailblazer on that front.

Toward the end of the podcast series, I realized that McMullen had something of her own in mind. Most likely, she did not have any definition of “icon”, because without clear criteria, the list turned into just a list of her favorite players. For example, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is called an “icon”, who herself did not want to join the Club because of her difficult nature. But how did Isaiah Thomas end up in the Club? And here’s how – McMullen believes that in order to join the Icon Club, a player must pass on the accumulated wisdom to the next generations. Because of this, Isiah was fondly remembered again and again – he did not become a successful coach/manager, but he had a serious impact on a new generation of players as a mentor/adviser.

The antipode of such an icon was Dwight Howard – he can only scare the kids and give an example to young NBA players how NOT to do it. Moreover, Howard’s game has not grown old in the best way – Dwight never learned to throw, to lower the ball to the ground, making more than two strokes – too. He never ran around the perimeter in defense, it was difficult to call him an independent option in attack.

I agree with The Athletic’s idea that Howard is not included in the top NBA greatest players because of his character and reputation. Smiled too much. Too ugly left Orlando. Reputed to be too toxic for the entire second half of his career.