Talk to any true fan of the NBA and they will tell you that back in the 1980s was the golden ages for teams and rivalries.
When Magic and Larry came along, they not only brought with them a great skill set and an unmatchable will to win, but also a rivalry that fans of the Lakers and Celtics bought into that helped take the league up another level.
The great thing is that while the Lakers and Celtics undoubtedly dominated the era, meeting three times in the NBA Finals, there were other great teams.
The Sixers, Pistons, Bulls, and Hawks also fielded good teams that would be in contention and, in the case of the Pistons and Sixers, even win the NBA title.
The NBA marketed teams, not players, back in those days, and it made for the the league to be a much more marketable sport.
Sure, you always heard Bird vs. Magic or MJ vs. 'Nique, but it would always revert back to the teams, and more importantly, the fans of those teams who took pride in their squad winning the rivalry.
Fast forward to the here and now.
The most popular debate over the past three years and running has been on who is the better player: Kobe or LeBron.
Fans of Kobe will state that the rings are the determining factor, to which LeBron fans will argue that the King does more with less and if the roles were reversed so too would be the outcomes with LeBron.
LeBron would be champion and Kobe would put up stats that would not help in getting his team over the top.
Now, in the summer of 2010, we have the opportunity to not only settle the score on this debate, but also to relive a time in the NBA when the game was pure and was played for the right reason: the love of the game.
While we may never see a team that has potential Hall of Famers coming off the bench in a sacrifice to win titles (i.e Walton and Dennis Johnson), we have on the horizon three players in the prime of their careers sacrificing being "the man" for a right to be "a champion."
LeBron, D-Wade, and Chris Bosh are reportedly set to play together in South Beach, where they would be in search of league supremacy for the next five years while looking at possible battles with the Los Angeles Lakers, who boast their own star team that has been to three consecutive NBA Finals and back-to-back titles.
James, Bosh, and Wade would be doing what most players talk about but don't actually pursue until they are older and are looking for a title to cap off their career (case in point-Boston's big three).
One question that has been thrown around is would James and Wade be willing to share the spotlight, and to this I say the answer is a resounding yes.
While both are young (25 and 28, respectively), they also have tons of experience and the knowledge to realize you can't win on your own in this league.
People ask how would LeBron's legacy be perceived if he were to leave Cleveland and flock to another city with an established star who has already won a title.
James, whom to me has always been more Magic than Michael, would be viewed in the same way as Magic.
Although Magic joined the Lakers via the draft instead of free agency, he won titles with Kareem, Byron Scott, Michael Cooper, and James Worthy.
Yet when he is introduced, you hear "five-time NBA Champion Magic Johnson" instead of "never did it as the lead star Magic Johnson."
People will point to the Kobe and Shaq situation, but this is totally different.
These two are much more mature than the others were and would appreciate the help that they would benefit from as opposed to trying to carry the load by themselves or being bitter about the other's success.
One other thing that people don't take into consideration is the age difference.
With LeBron being three years younger, it allows for him to allow D-Wade to be more assertive and be the man taking shots down the stretch of games earlier in the contract while LeBron can continue growing into that role so that in year two or three of playing together, LeBron becomes the man and gets the accolades.
Is it inconceivable that if these two win four or five titles that both LeBron and Wade can split the NBA Finals MVP awards during those years, with Wade taking them earlier and LeBron later?
In closing, these are three of the games most unselfish players willing to make the ultimate sacrifice of personal stats for legendary gain.
If it comes to fruition this would truly be a blast from the past and a great thing for both fans of the team involved and the NBA in general to witness.