Paul Shirley: But we also traffic proudly in individualism, in the worship of self-sufficiency and in the stubborn belief that the world is (or should be) a meritocracy. Those attitudes seep into our sports, by way of our discussions of which player is “elite,” by way of our celebration of max contracts over max effort, and even by way of the manner we use when talk about the games those players play: never the Washington Wizards against the New York Knicks; always John Wall and the Washington Wizards against Carmelo Anthony and the New York Knicks. It’s no wonder Bradley Beal and John Wall don’t like each other. It’s no wonder I encountered zero NBA locker rooms where the players wanted to see each other after the games. It’s no wonder those biographies I read as a child would have to be fiction if they were written now.