The "Coattail effect" is a political term that's used whenever a popular political figure attracts votes for other members of his or her party. Those other members are "Riding the coattail" of another successful politician. The additional support can be the deciding factor for those less-prestigious candidates to win their elections.
Coattail riders also exist in sports. They're often mentioned by sports fans when refuting arguments over a player's greatness being based on his or her team's number of championships. Some Hall of Fame players never won one championship. Likewise, some bench warmers have won multiple championships.
Just consider the 2011-12 NBA champion Miami Heat. LeBron James, Juwan Howard and Eddy Curry are one-time NBA champions following their five-game series victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder in the 2012 NBA Finals. However, no reasonable critic considers Howard or Curry to be anywhere near as good as James. No team could've won a NBA championship with Curry or Howard as their starter. James is arguably the best basketball player in the world.
The coattail effect can be viewed differently with different players. Chris Bosh accepted a smaller role when he agreed to be the No. 3 star behind Dwayne Wade and James. Howard was a very successful player who wasn't fortunate enough to play with the Los Angeles Lakers, Chicago Bulls, San Antonio Spurs or any organization who won a championship when he was a star. Curry averaged 2.1 points and 0.9 rebounds per game in 2012. He didn't play during the playoffs. The 29-year-old center has only played in 24 games since the 2008-09 season.
Here are a few of the most-memorable "coattail riders" who won multiple NBA championships during the 21st century. They weren't more than role players who barely averaged 15 minutes per game, if that. Please note that this isn't a list of every player with multiple championships. It's also not a list of every bench player with multiple championships.
The Charlotte Bobcats chose Adam Morrison with the third-overall pick in the 2006 NBA Draft. Morrison lost his starting job midway into his rookie season. He missed the 2007-08 season because of a knee injury. The Los Angeles Lakers acquired Shannon Brown and Morrison in a midseason deal during the 2008-09 season.
Morrison won two championships with the Lakers from 2008-09 and 2009-10. He only appeared in 39 games, averaging fewer than eight minutes per game during both seasons. He was released in 2010.
The San Antonio Spurs chose Beno Udrih with the 28th pick in the 2004 NBA Draft. He started six games in three seasons with the Spurs from 2004-05 through 2006-07. The Spurs won two championships during this period. Udrih never averaged more than 14.4 minutes per game or 5.9 points per game in any of those seasons.
Udrih joined the Sacramento Kings in 2007. He averaged anywhere from 11.0-to-13.7 points per game during his four seasons there. He averaged 5.9 points per game with the Milwaukee Bucks in 2011.
The Los Angeles Lakers chose Mark Madsen with the 29th pick in the 2000 NBA Draft. The Lakers had just won a championship during the 1999-00 season. Madsen was sparingly used as a bench player who averaged about 12-to-13 minutes per game, averaging three points.
Madsen joined the Minnesota Timberwolves in the 2003-04 season. He played there until 2009. His best statistical season occurred when he averaged 3.6 points and 3.8 rebounds per game during the 2003-04 season.
Joshua Huffman graduated from Middle Tennessee State University as a marketing major in 2009. He's been a Middle Tennessee resident from 1986-88 and 2001-present. He lived in the Upper Peninsula and Northern Wisconsin from 1988-01 and for approximately eight months in 2009-10 as he completed a 20-game volunteer position with the USHL's Green Bay Gamblers. His favorite sports organizations include the Green Bay Packers, Chicago Cubs, Nashville Predators and Tennessee Titans. He can be found on Twitter HERE.
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