Tim Tebow-mania has swept through Denver, Colorado. The immaculate, unconventional quarterback has piqued the imagination of Denver sports fans as he has the Broncos hurdling toward an AFC West championship and the NFL Playoffs. His comebacks have the sports world buzzing and questioning everything they know about how to win in football.
Tebow’s Broncos seemingly come alive at the end of games, making almost any lead disappear in an exciting cloud of dust or on the suspenseful, sometimes wobbly throws, off of Tebow’s left hand. It is hard to escape Tebow coverage — ESPN has already devoted a whole hour of SportsCenter to the former Florida quarterback.
Nuggets coach George Karl is not immune to that either. He has taken notice of the fever that has swept the Mile High City and can feel the sports juices flowing as his Nuggets get back to work.
Karl told Benjamin Hochman of the Denver Post that there are a lot of admirable qualities in Tebow that are good signs of a leaders. And you can see those effects not only in his teammates but in the fans supporting the team. He has everyone believing.
“I’ve always felt that leadership by words is overrated — leadership by example, approach and attitude is what people follow. And passion and enthusiasm is contagious. There’s an energy that comes with that. He’s a guy who believes in himself, has a spiritual belief.”
That leadership quality is infectious. And it is tough to find those qualities in a single player. The NBA certainly does not have a all-encompassing player that inspires his entire team like Tebow has during the NFL season.
Hochman asked Karl to rack his brain for Tebow-like players in the NBA and Karl had these suggestions:
“With the will to win, Manu Ginobili is the type of guy, he has this exuberance of — we’re going to win the (darn) game with effort, passion and commitment. He’s the first guy that came to mind.
“A guy who wins it on his heart more than his skills — Ben Wallace. He was an undersized, defensive player who can’t score, but won a championship.”
Ben Wallace is a great example of a Tebow-like player in recent NBA history. Those Pistons teams won on grit and determination without a strong superstar. There is obviously very few players that have gained the notoriety and following Tebow has though. And there aren’t many players like that in the NBA.
Each team has its own galvanizing player that pushed the team beyond its potential littered in its history — I can think of Darrell Armstrong in Orlando having such a reverential following among Magic fans for his hustle, leadership and determination. But a player that was so unconventional and so successful as a leader — at such a young age too? Tebow is truly unique. Surely though there are other NBA examples that rise near Tebow levels?
Certainly George Karl is using the Tebow lesson as a way to inspire and pump up his young Nuggets team as they prepare for their first “full” season without Carmelo Anthony.
At least Denver will be sky high as long as Tebow keeps winning.