Do great players make other players better or do they make their job easier? This writer says they make other players’ jobs easier. There are only a few players in the NBA who have made other players better. By that I mean that if you put that same player on a different team, does he play the same way? Does he compete the same way, score the same way, achieve at the same level? I say no. Do you agree or disagree? We’ll be exploring questions like this every week on Rebound Radio with Cedric Ceballos.

A prime example—Steve Nash. He made Shawn Marion, Amar’e Stoudemire and Raja Bell great. I played for Phoenix and watched them closely. All three of them, as soon as they left Steve Nash’s umbrella, their games went down. Not to say they aren’t good players or won’t be great players, not to say Steve Nash made them great. I believe he just made their job easier.

How about Magic Johnson? Magic played with a great Lakers team with Kareem, Worthy, Byron Scott, Michael Cooper, Kurt Rambis—all of them great players who moved on to other teams and were still great players. Now switch to the Laker’s team that Magic took to the finals, including Tony Smith, Elden Campbell, and Sam Perkins. Magic elevated them, made them better.

Shaquille O’Neal was a great player who made your job easier because he demanded double teams and attention. The best players will guard Kobe Bryant, Paul Pierce and LeBron James but you have to make your other players better. You have to demand that they come to work every day; demand that they train mentally and physically to take themselves to the next level.

Michael Jordon made other players better, like Scottie Pippen and Steve Kerr; Dennis Rodman, obviously a champion himself, was in a whole new echelon with Michael.

Larry Byrd, Boston Celtics Hall of Famer—he made others compete at his level and kept them there. Most players who played with Steve, Magic, Shaq, Michael and Larry continued to be great. So the age-old question—does this great player make others better or make their job easier? Some think it makes them better but I think it makes their job a lot easier.


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