Frazier Speaks But What Is Walt Saying

Updated: July 4, 2007



Those who can do

Those who can’t teach

a very unfair ditty but

to do BOTH that is

SPECIAL indeed

so Welcome to

Walt Frazier’s World

NO this is not a new book. It is Frazier’s 4th out a year now. What gets him and it attention today is a rebroadcast interview on NPR radio July 4th while the show’s host took the holiday off. Listening to Walt speak it was “re-freshing” to learn again while he and other “old timers” are critical of the current style of play in Basketball they really have no solutions to offer whatever that means.

It is in fact the perennial argument in all sports the team vs. the individual. In reality there are always teams and sports in which team play predominates and individual activity does. Certainly as Frazier does, the idea of the basketball star playing just for himself and often encouraged by management because the STARS fill the seats – this argument is easy to make.

But so what. Any team that has one or more truly superior players will inevitably rely on them. Teams that have a more equal distribution of talent or lack of talent will rely more on team dynamics. It amounts to a conceptual discussion detached from Real Life. These two strategies are two sides of the same issue.

Listening to such discussions you would think it is simply a matter of management and the coach staff deciding with full control of the environment either we will rely on star quality or team play.

The reality is different. In reality you lay with what you have whether as a result of good choices in how a team you constructed at any time looks or much more likely a combination of good and bad surprises in how your various players do, plus always present injuries, various tensions, the quality of the other teams in the division any particular season and the always present LUCK good or bad.

Of course as Frazier points out in his book and in the interview the game is “different today ” than when he played in college and then with the Knicks. Well what a Revelation. What sport what aspect of life is not ….

…….. somewhat different over any 20 or 30 year span. In fact in many ways Basketball with some rule changes fundamentally is the very same game as was played in the 1970s. But you can argue as well it has changed and it has.

Take your choice.

Now this should not be misread as an argument for accepting Reality in Sports (or elsewhere) whatever it is but complaints without solutions are just like dogs wailing at the Moon. That is what dogs do. It changes nothing.

Let’s see Walt could recommend teams NOT draft players like LeBron James. Especially LeBron James types because that certainly encourages the cult of the player not the team. Does that sound like a solution to anyone. Or one Frazier would ever offer. To anyone ?

Or staying with James just to make a point maybe the Cavaliers should tell him LeBron you score too much let the lesser players have the ball more often whether or not they score. We’re not interested in winning we are interested in principles. And the rhythm of the game. Maybe not a bad idea. Any takers ??

We don’t want to belabor the point and certainly not make Walt a target. He is just a convenient stand in to make the point that we so often in Sports criticize what we see without offering any realistic ways to make changes. Needless to say we hope we are never guilty of such musings here in the Box. Definitely not in the Box. Time and again we get very very specific in calling for change.

Let’s offer some to Walt. Since there is little doubt he will want to write a 5th book here is a very specific idea for you Frazier. Do a book based on a very detailed list of changes you would make to Basketball, include your road map of exactly how to accomplish those changes, and tell the readers and all of Basketball very specifically what you believe will be the results.

On the other hand if you cannot possibly write such a book you make our point. Old timers will ALWAYS complain about how “things aren’t the way they were in the good old days” and leave us with that very easy and inevitably true observation but that is all it is. An observation that things change over time and anyone can then argue legitimately that the changes are good OR that they are bad whichever the writer or speaker finds more attractive.

So give it a Shot Frazier

see if you can write

a book that is much needed

a concrete plan for

Basketball’s Future

if it’s good enough

it just might get you

that College or NBA

Head Coaching offer

you’d love to receive.

Whenever you want to reach us with comments or better yet an idea for a topic for the Box …….