5 on 1

by January 30, 2009

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“It takes five.”

Before the Brotherhood, came these five cats. Five hoopers who achieved various levels of success with three stripes on their feet. But could they all say they truly understood the importance of a team, five players, working together on the court? Did they all understand that “It takes five” meant more than just a slogan and a photo shoot? Did they realize what they were (attempting) to stand for?

The truth is, to find a true team of players who work together like peanut butter and jelly, like bananas and Frosted Flakes, like spaghetti and meatballs, only happens when the leader understands and buys into the team concept. Tim Duncan, for sure, knew what it meant. The Big Fundamental had three rings when this image was published in KICKS 9 in 2006. He’d go on to win another that season. Chauncey Billups had a ring and was part of quite possibly the League’s most well-rounded teams. Kevin Garnett had an MVP trophy, but tasted nothing more than just a lick of Playoff success (maybe Kevin McHale should have stayed on the sidelines for another season, eh?). He knew it took five and understood his situation needed to change.

Tracy McGrady, well, he kept telling himself that he knew what it meant. And Gilbert Arenas, known for his solo heroics, went to the NCAA National Championship as a 19-year-old at Arizona, as a backup to Jason Gardner. Over two seasons later, McGrady and Arenas are part of underachieving teams (grossly so, in Washington’s case), and both are out of the star conversation all-together. Garnett, Duncan and Billups, however, will likely all finish top-10 in 2009 MVP voting. It’s safe to say at least three of the five knew what it means to ‘take five.’