75th anniversary: a much more moving ceremony than expected | NBA
Do the ceremonies still affect the players? To be among the 76 best players in history is obviously an honor, but how would these basketball players, accustomed to the awards for a long time, feel?
One could fear a parade a little hollow, while 45 of the 76 members of the classification established by the NBA were present in Cleveland. But Charles Barkley, like most of the players concerned, explained that the videos in tribute to those who were not there, and his own introduction, moved him much more than he expected.
“Allen Iverson and Jason Kidd, Gary Payton, Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, Oscar Robertson,” listed LeBron James. “Seeing all these guys today and being on stage with them was just crazy. »
Even the « King » looked like a kid in the middle of a candy store.
“Every time they announced a new name, I didn’t even have the opportunity to appreciate that another player was named. It was, like, ‘Gary Payton’. I was like, ‘Wow’. Then Jason Kidd came along, then Allen Iverson, then D-Wade, then CP (Chris Paul) and Steph (Curry). It was just crazy. »
LeBron James was not the only one in this state. Giannis Antetokounmpo also had a hard time believing it.
“When you start playing basketball, when you are young, you cannot imagine being next to all these great players who have marked history”explained the “Greek Freak”. “Your name is called, you go and shake their hands, you stand next to them, you interact with them, it’s amazing. I cried a little on stage because I’m not supposed to be here. To be among these guys is just crazy. »
It is thus a good reminder that the current stars have grown up idolizing the stars of previous generations, and that seeing themselves in the midst of their role models is still far from trivial.
“It’s like going to your favorite singer’s concert, in the biggest stadium in the world, and you’re literally on stage with him while he plays. It’s just a feeling like, ‘I can’t believe I’m here. That’s the best way to describe it. » was trying to compare LeBron James. « I can’t believe I’m sitting next to Bruce Springsteen as he plays in the London stadium in front of 160,000 people. Or that I’m at the Garden with Jay-Z. Or that I’m sitting with Whitney Houston on stage in front of 90,000 people. That’s kind of how I felt. I could not believe it. »