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It Takes More Than Stars to Land Champions League and NBA Crowns

When it comes to basketball and football there is so much emphasis placed on individuals in these competitive team sports.

While it is useful to have Lebron James or a Lionel Messi on your team, history has shown having the best individuals does not necessarily guarantee you the big prize come the end of the season.

James' Lakers Fall Short in 2020-21

Much was expected of the reigning NBA champions going into the 2020-21 season, but the California outfit endured what was to be a tough season. Finishing the regular season with a 42-30 record, the Los Angeles Lakers, who are averaging around +3500 in the NBA odds to win the title this term, had to settle for seventh place in the Western Conference. Injuries had played a significant role throughout the regular season, with star James sidelined for 26 of the final 30 games due to a sprained ankle.

James did make a return in time for the all-important playoffs, however, the post-season was to be a short one for the star-studded Lakers as they suffered an opening-round series loss at the hands of the Phoenix Suns. That defeat was the first time in James’ illustrious career that his team had crashed out in the first round of the playoffs. It looks like the Lakers will be up against it again this term to win the NBA crown, as they were down in ninth place in the Western Conference going into the all-star game break. Even at the age of 37, James is still one of the most dominant players in the NBA, but his considerable skills alone can’t guarantee success.

Messi Still Waiting on Euro Glory

While Messi will undoubtedly go down as one of the greatest football players to play the game, the Argentine might well be frustrated by the length of time since his last Champions League title. It was back in the 2014-15 season when his former club Barcelona beat Juventus in the final in Berlin to lift the prestigious trophy. Messi continued to be the key player for Barca in the following years, but the Blaugrana have since been unable to reach the showpiece event of the European football calendar.

Messi moved on to pastures new with Paris Saint-Germain in 2021 with the aim of finally ending the wait for a Champions League trophy. PSG have been building a squad full of superstars in their bid to win the competition for the first time in their history, although so far they have fallen short. The Parisian giants and Messi are in the mix again this season but they face stern competition to lift the trophy.

While the likes of James and Messi have enjoyed plenty of success in their careers, it certainly has not gone all their own way. Building squads that are not just individual stars but can work together as a whole is what wins titles. That’s something the Lakers and PSG are looking to develop in their squads before James and Messi call time on their stellar playing careers.