Volume 91, Issue 51

Thursday, November 27, 1997

Mike the Knife


THE EDGE: No more Dynasty reruns

The era of the sports dynasty is dead.

Left behind in memories and game film is the fear and excitement of the powerhouse coming to town and the thrill of watching an underdog take full aim at the league's superpower. The triumphant moments of hockey's Edmonton Oilers, with Wayne Gretzky and Mark Messier lifting the Stanley Cup above their heads year after year, will never be repeated by the youngsters who grew up hoping to one day relive those championships. These historical accomplishments of the Oilers in the early '80s or Major League Baseball's New York Yankees in the '50s will never again be repeated.

On Monday, the final nail in the coffin was drilled home with the announcement from NBA superstar Scottie Pippen, who said he has no intention of rejoining the Chicago Bulls once he returns from a foot injury. Instead, he demanded a trade, the result of long time torn differences with team owner Jerry Krause.

Paid only $2.775 million this season, Pippen ranks 122nd on the league's payroll scale and feels he has been taken for granted by the same ownership who had been at the beck and call of superstar Michael Jordan and flamboyant rebounder Dennis Rodman.

With his eventual departure, Pippen will leave behind in Chicago, what will probably be recognized for decades to come as the last dynasty in sport. Five championship banners from the past seven years hang from the arena in Chicago, the product of teamwork and dedication from a team filled with superstars.

Without the services of Chicago's star forward thus far, the Bulls have slipped to 8-5, a mere speck of a team which failed to lose in total more than 13 games in each of the past two seasons.

Just another whining professional athlete not getting his own way? Nope. Pippen is only reacting in accordance to the current competitive state of professional sports and has every right to make such a statement.

Once a game played for the love of sport, now money and competition have redirected the focus of every professional league internationally. Whether this is good for the game or not is not the issue. It is now accepted that money talks in pro sports, leaving players like Pippen more than justified to ask to be relocated.

Free agency has reduced the value of team loyalty by both players and management, making it nearly impossible to keep an entire team together for one season let alone the four or five years needed to be labeled a dynasty. For ownership, the value of one star player may drop if they can be replaced at a cheaper price. For athletes, loyalty to a team often becomes fogged with dollar signs.

Expansion is another culprit in the removal of the dynasty from the sports dictionary. Doubling and tripling in size, the rapid expansion of leagues has indirectly resulted in the elimination of the possibility for any team holding onto all of its star players. Simply stated, it is no longer economically feasible or possible. If it were, just imagine how many championships the Montreal Expos could have won with Larry Walker, Moises Alou, Randy Johnson, Delino DeShields and Pedro Martinez on their roster. Instead, this financially strapped team lost its players faster than they could develop them.

Consistently for the past decade, sports experts have pointed to a strong team and announced with full belief that those players will be the foundation of a long-term dynasty. Some said that about the Toronto Blue Jays after their second consecutive World Series, but look what the team has done since. The Troy Aikman Cowboys? Nope. The Colorado Avalanche? Wrong again. And now say good-bye to the last of a dying breed, the Chicago Bulls.

To Contact The Sports Department: gazsport@julian.uwo.ca

Copyright The Gazette 1997