Sunday, January 25, 2009

In Search of Yang...or Yin

In sports, there is a yin to every yang. The Yankees and Red Sox, Chamberlain and Russell, Bird and Magic; there are always two opposing entities that need each other to be at their best. It's not just that the two are the best at what they do; but rather their souls are contrasting and complimentary. It can never be established by outsiders, but always forms as if it was preordained.
Since the dawn the realm of Basketball, there have been three individual yin/yang pairs among the players. There's the point guard, the swingman, and the big man. For example, Chris Paul and Deron Williams will be forever linked, regardless of whatever Rose or Harris do in their careers. Tim Duncan and Shaq are polar personality opposites—Shaq, the bold showman and Timmy being the epitome of quiet strength. But there lies a mystery regarding the perimeter player: who is the yin to Lebron's yang?

One would venture to the obvious answer of Kobe, but Kobe's six years Lebron's senior. They have been on the same plane for no more than three seasons, with this one being the third. If one figures that Kobe has five more years of Mamba-ness, then that places Lebron—at 29—with no one as his rival for another six to eight years. And besides, Kobe's rival has been the Ghost of Jordan Past since his inception anyway. Moving on...

Is it Wade? He certainly has the game, and will most likely see Lebron in some playoff series over the next few years. However, Wade and Lebron's personalities are too similar, despite The Flash not being so flashy. Both are sort of clean-cut, minus Bron-Bron's tattoos, and aren't exactly Muhammad Ali when it comes to taking any sort of political stand (more about that soon). It works a little, but doesn't quite capture that Bird/Magic feel. Keep on searching...

Maybe it really is Carmelo Anthony, as Draft experts had claimed after their selections in 2003; and really, since their high school days. Their games are diametrically opposed; with Lebron as Max Payne at light speed and Melo as Sam Fisher from the free throw line extended. Throw in Melo's Iverson-like street cred and inner city popularity; and there may be something stirring in the chemistry pot. Yet I feel that Melo, while mathematically, well, mellow and sublime from the paint, doesn't quite beam with the same regal aura as Lebron. While there is King James, I feel like Anthony would be more like Knight Melo instead of having his own empire among the Association. To me, Carmelo serves as Lebron's sparring partner; not necessarily for James to flat-out dominate, but to let The King know that he can't take too many days off from his celestial duties, yet still can't challenge the throne himself.

Who knows? Maybe Mayo, Granger, Roy or someone else will arise and be that converse for Lebron. Though that player won't be able to wrestle the crown from Lebron's head for awhile, he can at least claim some territory for The King to have battles to reaffirm him place atop the Realm.


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