Team USA figure skater and gold medal favorite, Nathan Chen, is an NBA superfan. A Wall Street Journal profile of his obsession with basketball details how the greatest American male skater in recent memory draws inspiration from the league’s current greats: guys like LeBron James, Russell Westbrook and Steph Curry.
“He’s the GOAT,” Chen said of James. “Just year after year after year, game after game, he’s consistently amazing. That consistency is something I strive for. It’s really inspiring for me to watch that.”
While many would challenge Chen’s anointment of King James as the GOAT, at 18 years old, his idolization of modern NBA superstars is hardly surprising. No other American sports league connects with its fans or utilizes social media better, which specifically attracts post-millennials who were born into the internet.
Still, you’d think all of that exposure to tweets, videos, throwback highlights and most importantly, YouTube, would educate these young fans about the history of the game – and by history, I honestly just mean anything that happened before 2013. However, if Chen’s bonkers top five list of all-time NBA All-Stars is any indication, the internet has failed to serve as an historical text for the youths.
Important 1 a.m. figure skater basketball hot take update:
Nathan Chen’s “All-Time NBA All-Stars”
1. LeBron James
2. Kobe Bryant
3. Russell Westbrook
4. Donovan Mitchell
5. Steph Curry pic.twitter.com/wftBm0Jk2j
— Aaron Falk (@aaronfalk) February 15, 2018
LeBron No. 1? Definitely. Kobe next? Of course. They’re both top 10 players all-time and first-ballot Hall of Famers. They’re a safe bet for just about any NBA all-time list. The Russell Westbrook pick carries a strong scent of recency bias, but then again, he’s one of just two players ever to win consecutive All-Star Game MVPs so … fine.
Number four, though, is inexcusable. Donovan Mitchell is a rookie. It’s a truly shameless homer pick by a Utah Jazz fan who probably just wants Mitchell to see this and offer him courtside seats. The NBA community is far from reaching a consensus on a list like this, but one thing is for sure: Donovan Mitchell doesn’t make the cut.
The Curry pick is a cop-out as well. If there’s one rule of all-time list-making, it’s that you avoid exclusively choosing players of the same generation. This is a list that was clearly curated by a kid who wouldn’t recognize Kareem Abdul-Jabbar if he walked by him on the street, and while I recognize that he’s a world class athlete and I’m a sportswriter with a laptop, I cannot stand for this kind of blasphemy.
For the love of Scott Hamilton, someone please show Nathan Chen some videos of Michael Jordan. I really think he’d like him.
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• Olympic skating coach warned after attempting to fix Sochi race
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