When it comes to sports, we don’t often appreciate greatness in its time. Basketball in particular has a funny way of both celebrating and despising its dynasties. I remember fervently rooting against the Boston Celtics back in the 80s because I was sick of seeing them win. As an adult, however, I watch replays of their games against the thugs of the Detroit Pistons and hope Larry Bird will somehow make that last shot that keeps the Pistons from marching on. I am forever disappointed and horrified at the fickle allegiances of my youth.
I can only imagine what people were thinking when John Wooden and the UCLA men won 10 NCAA titles in a 12-year span, or when Red Auerbach and the Celtics won 11 of 13 NBA titles in the 50s and 60s. Everyone likes to watch great teams rise until the underdogs start building the Death Star. Suddenly, everyone’s rooting for Luke and that ancient Muppet to take them down.