Mind of Michael: The face of the NBA - The Lookout - LCC's Independent Student Newspaper Since 1959
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Mind of Michael: The face of the NBA

Michael Leek

The Lookout Sports Writer Michael Leek

Michael Leek

By Michael Leek
Sports Editor

The NBA could have a small problem in the near future. As LeBron James, Steph Curry and Kevin Durant near the end of their careers, the NBA must find a new “face of the NBA.”

It was easy for the last decade and a half, because LeBron was “the chosen one” and lived up to that title, both on and off the court.

With all the great young talent in the league now, the title of “chosen one” may be far-fetched. The NBA needs a new face that can be everywhere and on everything; advertisements, special guest appearances and more.

Here are a few of the new young talents I believe can be that new face, as well as who cannot.

First up as a “who cannot” is Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid. I do not think he can be the new face of the NBA because of the brand of basketball he plays.

Embiid is an amazing player and is coming off a career night, scoring 70 points in a single game on Jan. 22. But the way he plays basketball can be quite frustrating to a big majority of basketball fans.

Embiid can draw fouls at an amazing rate, sometimes too well, because people tend to get bored watching him shoot sometimes 15 or more free throws.

Next up on “who cannot” is our reigning finals MVP, Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic. He has a similar problem to Embiid in that his brand of basketball can be boring to the average viewer.

Appealing to the average basketball fan is what the NBA wants to do to maintain its fan base, as well as grow it.

Jokic, although a generational talent like Embiid, may not appeal to the average basketball fan. His stats do speak to his achievements and success in his career thus far, but his flashy and explosive highlights are lacking.

There are three players who I believe can be this new face of the NBA title.

First is Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo. His brand of basketball is explosive and highlight-oriented. He has also shown his likeness and ability to advertise to be above Embiid and Jokic.

The next player would be Dallas Mavericks guard Luka Doncic. He has the stats, highlights, style of play and likeness. What Doncic is missing that may hold him back are his achievements. My rebuttal to this being a detriment is that he is only 24 years old, and has lots of years left in him, granted a healthy career.

Lastly, Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum could be the face of the league. He plays for a storied franchise in the Celtics, which already has a strong fan base. And he has a likable style of play that has similarities to greats such as Kobe Bryant.

There are multiple problems I see with Tatum being the new face, however. The most glaring is that he does not have a strong case for being better than anyone I have named so far on either side of the spectrum.

You also still have players that are even younger than the ones I named who could be a face of the league, including Anthony Edwards, Victor Wembenyama and Zion Williamson, if he can stay healthy.

The NBA has a plethora of talented players, but who can truly be the new face of the NBA? Let me know what you think. Send me an email at leekm@mail.lcc.edu



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