No more ‘Hopes’…….

By Eric D. Graham
Updated: March 3, 2008

NORTH CAROLINA — Everybody is always asking “Who is the next Michael Jordan?” But should we be asking ourselves, “Who will be the next Larry Bird?”

In fact, what’s up with the declining play of “white American” NBA players? Larry Bird was a “Living Legend” no question about that, but no one has ever filled his shoes or even come close.

Despite the great white hype that college sportscasters place on “white athletes” in the NCAA, guys like Christian Laettner, Danny Ferry, Bobby Hurley, J.J. Redick, and even Adam “fear his mustache” Morrison, all have fallen short in the pros.

This year, Billy Packer, the alumni association, and college booster clubs around the country have already “annointed” North Carolina’s Tyler Hansbrough as Naismith’s College Basketball Player of the Year. Hansbrough is good but not great!!

His inability to score off the dribble and his horrible outside jump shot limits his Bird-like comparison. Hansbrough, however, does possess Larry’s competitive natural.

For instance, Hansbrough’s dunk over 7-foot-7 Kenny George of UNC-Asheville was awesome, and his desire to still play despite a broken nose against Duke University was classic but he still “ain’t no Larry Bird.”

O.K., I know somebody out there is saying what about six-time All-Star, and two-time NBA MVP Steve Nash? Sorry. He is Canadian, so America can’t claim him.

What about six time All-Star Dirk Nowitzki, you ask? Sorry, Dirk is German. America can’t even claim him either. Don’t get me wrong!! I like Dirk…but he ain’t no “Larry Bird either”!!!

He lacks that passion, the killer-instinct, that “hometown proud,” that desire not to lose the big game, that ability to make the big shot with two seconds on the clock….”

I mean Larry Bird would “straight up fist-fight you if he had to. Just Ask “Dr.J” Julius Erving. Larry Bird, in fact, was one of the baddest players ever to play the game.

As a result, nobody has come close to wearing his “ugly” high top green Converse sneakers and maybe no one ever will.