The Franchise Player or The False Prophet?

Posted by C.L. Anthony on Wednesday, March 02, 2011 with No comments
One term that is used in the media a lot when referring to the NBA is the term Franchise Player.  I have always had a love hate relationship with the term and in its early stages I actually embraced it around 2000 or so when Steve Francis adopted nickname Stevie Franchise by declaring himself the Franchise player of the Houston Rockets while Hakeem Olajuwon's game was in a state of major decline.  It was a term of endearment and I got it, as with other Rockets fans of the time, we loved Stevie Franchise but when it was all love and cute back then the reality is that Steve Francis was a good player on a bad team and thus became a false prophet as he talked and ate his way out of the league without leaving a lasting impression.  His career ended with no championships, no gold medals, and he will not even be allowed into the Basketball Hall of Fame; again good player on a bad team = false prophet.

Eleven years later, I'm more mature, more wise and yes I'm considered the Dr. Phil of the NBA and with that being said I have to offer up some tough love and the irresponsible use of the term franchise player.  Those who really know me understand that I am extremely tough on NBA players on and off my fav team which you all know by now is the Miami Heat and have been pre Wade and Lebron.  Heat fan since 1995 so again the haters can kick had to be said!  Alonzo Mourning is and will always be the face of the Miami Heat, it was his heart and toughness that the Heat continue to be patterned after 4 years since his retirement i.e. Udonis Haslem.  The truth of the matter is that  Alonzo never led the Heat to a championship when he was the best player on the team even though he did win a championship as a part of the Dwyane Wade/Shaquille O'Neal championship Heat team in 2006.  I know all of the haters in the world are happy now because they think they know what's coming next...Alonzo Mourning was not a false prophet despite the things he didn't do while being the face of the Miami Heat.   Alonzo was more of a tweener and he is one of the few NBA players to rest in the gray area between Franchise Player and False Prophet.  Ask yourselves this...Did you really think I was going to say something negative about Alonzo  My definition of a franchise player is very simple.
  1. You must lead your team to the Finals or win the NBA Championship.
  2. You must win the regular season MVP Award or the Finals MVP Award.
  3. You must average over 20 points per game for your career.  
  4. You must have at least five years of being a starter on the All-Star Team.
  5. You must have been apart of the final roster for Team USA.
One or two of the above criteria can't be met, all five must be met in order for me to consider someone a franchise player.  I said it earlier I'm extremely tough when it comes to this subject.  If someone approaches me and thinks that their favorite player is the franchise and all five of the above criteria are not met then there's no discussion at all...period!  I will give you a look like I'm saying "Are you fucking kidding me!"  Yeah it's that serious people.  Just tonight I had to give my nephew the look when he asked me if Manu Ginobili was a franchise player and once he saw the look he broke out in laughter because he knew the error that he'd made.    

Far too often I turn on my television or read articles that label certain players as franchise guys and I just sit there in a state of shock, shaking my head at the absurd presumptions.  Let me be very clear, I'm not saying any of these players are bad, maybe overrated but not bad.  At this time, the big two of New York, Carmelo Anthony and Amare' Stoudemire are not franchise players, they are top ten players in the league but that's where it ends.  The media hype of Deron Williams, Chris Bosh, or Dwight Howard is overkill, they are not franchise players, there's just no argument to support the opposing side of this matter.  The great thing is that there's still time for all of these players to reach that peek if they so choose to take that next step.  Sometimes good just isn't good enough, names like Patrick Ewing, Reggie Miller, Vince Carter, Chris Webber, Steve Nash, and Jason Kidd come to mind, these guys are false prophets period!  Some of you reading this may be shocked, angered, or in a state of disbelief but the proof is right in front of you.  Being conditioned to following a looser is a fatal flaw, demand more from your favorite player and hope they respond because the false prophets are easy to spot....good players on bad teams!  If you don't and you come at me with that foolishness you will be the next victim of the look.