Throughout my days I have even noticed that it has become more about the perception of a franchise than the talent in the radius of the locker room. Miami has become prisoner to their own declarations and will not become released from them until they achieve that seemingly unattainable feat of “Not one, not two, not three, not four, not five….”
The problem with the Miami Heat living up to their potential lies in the perception of them as a unit. Their image has become so blurred by what LeBron James and Dwyane Wade are individually that viewing them as a unit has become substantially impossible.
If Miami loses a game, fans find themselves shouting to the mountaintops that since the Heat have LeBron they could virtually go undefeated in a season.
Losing sight of how Miami matches up as a team against other franchises in the league forces the average fan to gravitate towards the notion that James should be able to win games alone or at least with the sole defensive and offensive efforts of Wade.
The truth of the matter is that the number of championships the Heat win will determine the value of this Miami team.
However, championships are not won by one or two players.
Just because Michael Jordan was the standout player in any game he played in a Chicago Bulls’ uniform in the postseason does not mean that Jordan was the only fraction of influence for the Bulls.
You have Dennis Rodman, who is now in the Basketball Hall of Fame. There was also Scottie Pippen, who barely gets enough credit for his role as Chicago’s greatest wingman, arguably. Pippen, whose game is slightly mirrored by present-day Wade, was a great facilitator, a really good defender and a solid scorer for the Bulls.
Pippen complemented Jordan perfectly, yet his name is mentioned second to last when speaking of the great players of that era because his production and presence are overshadowed.
What about players like John Paxson and BJ Harper? Were these players not beautiful components to the championship picture?
Still, they are forgotten because of the polarizing figure that Jordan was. Yet, in no way, shape or form did Jordan win his championships alone.
The Miami Heat cannot expect LeBron James to do this either. He will never win a title alone and his mistakes have been magnified by what his supporting cast cannot do. James has also been ostracized as a disappointment because of how he has made his series exits in the postseason, especially in the NBA Finals.
Not scoring a single point in clutch time in the 2011 NBA Finals was not reflective of arguably the best basketball player in the world. Not showing up to play against an obviously inferior team was not reflective of arguably the best basketball player in the world.
He should shoulder the blame for those failures. However, no matter how far LeBron pushes this franchises, championships are collective efforts and should shadow a team’s chemistry.
Miami is in the best position to win the championship this season with more stable efficiency and designated leader guiding the reins. They will never win those eight or nine championships that the Big Three proclaimed before the 2010-11 season was underway, and this will be a failure in a lot of people’s eyes.
The truth is that even if they had won the 2011 NBA Finals against the Dallas Mavericks, there would be fans sitting back with their arms folded waiting for more.
Why? It is because LeBron James’ aura, physical specimen, athleticism, versatility and basketball IQ seem to command more. It’s perception at work.
Had he not predicted multiple championships and went the humble route it would still be expected of him to win multiple Finals series in Miami because of the raw talent that has established itself in South Beach. The fundamentals of basketball are not taken into account because that is not the type of basketball the Miami Heat represent.
Being one of the greatest basketball players to ever play the game is something that LeBron James has clumsily stumbled into.
Being one of the greatest NBA dynasties of all time is not something that James or Wade can solely control. Yet, the perception calculates a different conclusion.
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