This is probably nitpicking, but something in Bill Simmons’ most recent column struck me as odd. The subject is Chris Webber, and his supposed inability to ever totally maximize his potential. While I generally disagree with this notion, that is not my concern. Rather, I found this excerpt interesting:
Of all the great players who passed through the NBA and never fulfilled their promise, Webber was the only one without a legitimate excuse. Bernard King and David Thompson had drug problems and knee problems.
Bernard King and David Thompson were before my time, so I’m not entirely familiar with the details of their struggles. But I disagree with the implication that developing a drug problem is a “legitimate excuse” for not performing at an expected level. Drug problems do not just happen to people. Certainly, some are more likely to develop a problem than others. But make no mistake about it, they are developed. One must make a poor decision to develop a problem, and I don’t think making such decisions qualifies as a legitimate excuse.