With all the recent talk about Arvydas Sabonis being inducted into the FIBA Hall of Fame, a discussion about alternate history has emerged concerning how many championships the Portland Trail Blazers could've won if he'd come over to the U.S. earlier than 1995.
Well, on that note, let me tell you that as an ex-Sonic fan it depresses me to realize that Hakeem Olajuwon could've reportedly been had by Seattle back in the summer of 1992 for a package of Benoit Benjamin, Derrick McKey, and Nate McMillan -- with salary filler like Sleepy Floyd probably coming back to the Emerald City along with Olajuwon -- however, Bob Whitsitt reportedly backed out due to wanting to include Gary Payton in the deal instead of McKey/McMillan.
The one time that "Trader Bob" should've pulled the trigger, he didn't fire. If the SuperSonics had Olajuwon to play alongside Shawn Kemp, Eddie Johnson, Ricky Pierce, and Payton, I truly believe that the franchise would've beat the Phoenix Suns and Chicago Bulls in 1992-1993 -- since Seattle had an even better SRS (i.e., Simple Rating System) than both of those teams heading into the postseason as it was with the Charmin soft Sam Perkins at center: http://www.basketball-reference.com/leagues/NBA_1993.html -- and, moreover, would've demolished the competition during the 1993-1994 and 1994-1995 seasons to the tune of possibly 70+ wins each year with a couple of Larry O'Brien Championship Trophies to boot.
Also, a 1996 NBA Finals with that legendary Chicago Bulls team against an equally dominant SuperSonics team could've theoretically been the best, most competitive championship series in basketball history. It was fine as it was, sure. I, however, could envision Olajuwon being the difference maker over an outmatched duo of Luc Longley and Bill Wennington, as well as his interior defense being key in hindering Michael Jordan's versatility at scoring inside.
Why didn't that potential dynasty come together? Well, it's 'cause Whitsitt didn't want to part ways with McMillan. Maybe this makes me an irrational hater of "Mr. Sonic" like TiH is with regards to Andre Miller, but it's hard not to blame #10 -- even though it was technically Whitsitt's fault -- for what glory could've reigned during my youth. I, by the way, still can't fathom why the Sonics retired the jersey of an average player such as McMillan, for being just decent doesn't deserve the recognition that should be reserved for true greatness. I'm sorry, Nate, but you'll never, ever be great at anything related to basketball.
Anyway, in an attempt to make this topic viable for the JD, I have the following question for everyone here. What, if anything, would y'all've changed in your lives to make a better alternate history for yourselves? For me, I wish I passed Spanish II as a junior in high school -- for it was one of two classes I flunked in my life, with chemistry being the other -- got accepted to a four-year university (e.g., WSU) versus wasting away at community college for a couple of years, and possibly made something of myself rather than be an unemployed bum in his mid-'20s.
Yet, as it is, I'm sure that several of you guys have more interesting stories about what could've been compared to mine. So yeah, let's see 'em!