Comment | Markkanen’s stardom was sealed, is the bar still rising?

Lauri Markkanen’s trick is unmatched in Finnish team sports, writes HS sports reporter Jan Vilén.

Finland Lauri Markkanen is an NBA star. The final seal on the title came when the Utah Jazz’s brightest diamond was selected for this year’s all-star game.

There has been no doubt about Markkanen’s stardom for many months – at least when viewed through the blue and white glasses of a Finnish basketball fan – and now everyone else has recognized it as well.

Markkanen has already flashed his star potential several times over the years, but that’s all it has remained, flashes. Now the splendor dazzles from night to night in such a way that it has not gone unnoticed by anyone.

Already in the votes of fans, journalists and players, Markkanen showed that he belongs in the NBA All Stars match alongside the biggest superstars of the series. The last thing to say was the 30 coaches of the series, who selected Markkanen among the seven substitute players of the Western Conference for the event that is waiting a little over two weeks away.

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The selection for the star match is important, because it really tells about the player’s goodness. The different votes filter out the brightest stars from the selected mass of players so that there is very little to debate about the choices.

The best basketball players in the world play in the NBA. The best of these players were still selected, and Markkanen will also step onto the familiar floor of Utah’s home arena among them. As a star among stars.

Markkanen’s rise to the undisputed star of one of the world’s most popular and most played ball games is an achievement that is unmatched in Finnish team sports. Only Jari Litmanen selection as the world’s third best soccer player in 1995 takes precedence.

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Selection for the star match has been Markkanen’s goal for years, and he has said it out loud several times. However, at no point has it been about self-worth, but about the award and recognition that comes from reaching one’s own top level. And by raising that level until the bar is crossed as high as the best players in the world.

Now the bar no longer needs to be raised more than the last cents at most, and Markkanes can start to be talked about as an NBA superstar.

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