LeBron James was the last in a line of superstar players pretending he’s the underdog when he said, “I want my damn respect.” It’s a truly annoying moment when one of the greatest players ever makes it seem he’s not being respected simply because he is not universally loved.
As it so happens, the teams and players who really deserve more respect than they are getting are a lot cooler about it. After the crazy ’19/’20 NBA season, there is no doubt in my mind the most underappreciated/disrespected team in the NBA are the Denver Nuggets. Their superstar Nikola Jokić is at the top of the list of players who legitimately get to say, “I want my damn respect.”
Here’s the thing with people who actually deserve it – they let their game do the talking. Jokić is not about building a brand or carefully controlling every aspect of his public image. He’s not making prepared jokes about Marc Gasol having his DPOY. Jokić doesn’t let the clock run out without launching a half-court shot so that he wouldn’t reduce his career field goal percentage. Nikola Jokić loves to play basketball. He’s not concerned about you giving him proper respect – he’s going to take it.
Even now, they are talking about how the Clippers lost, not how we won. Just because someone doesn’t give us respect doesn’t mean we listen to their opinions. We know how good we are.Nikola Jokić, T.J. McBride’s Twitter
Jokić has a point. Everyone is still talking about the Clippers meltdown, and we all imply if the Clippers were right, they would win with ease. First of all, being a cohesive unit and playing like a team is a big part of being dominant. That’s one thing the Clippers meltdown proved. We tend to glorify individual capabilities as if this is tennis or golf.
Secondly, all the woulda coulda shoulda may be fun to discuss, but NFL legend Bill Parcells made it clear -you are what your record says you are. The Clippers lost a 3-1 lead. The Nuggets came back from 3-1 two times!! So when Marcus Morris says this, he is blatantly wrong.
Marcus Morris on the Clippers’ motivation entering this season and how much last season’s collapse to Denver stings: “At the end of the day, that team wasn’t better than us.”— Ohm Youngmisuk (@NotoriousOHM) December 3, 2020
He’s not only wrong and disrespecting the Nuggets, but he is also embarrassing himself and the Clippers. If that were the case (which it is not), that’s even worse for the Clips.
The Nuggets are a perfect storm of unappreciation. They are a small market team, their superstar player has no social media, and he is a white guy from Serbia who looks like he never entered a gym in his life. His co-star is a Canadian guard who meditates before every game. This goes against everything PR companies told us a dominant athlete does and/or looks like.
Yet, when they step on the court, it’s some of the best basketball you’ll find.