We Are Being Robbed of the LeBron James Era
The LeBron James era is over before it began.
As an NBA fan, I feel robbed.
Will Miami's so-called super team be fascinating? Of course, but it comes with a price. By playing together, LeBron James and Dwayne Wade will never play up to their individual potentials.
Despite the rumors yesterday, I didn't believe LeBron would really go to Miami.
I wrote a couple of weeks ago that it was either Cleveland or New York. I was wrong.
LeBron James was the most hyped prospect in NBA history. He was touted as the next Jordan. It is becoming apparent that he will never compare to 'His Airness.'
When James dropped 25 straight against Detroit, I thought that maybe Nike's "We Are Witnesses" advertising campaign wasn't as contrived as it seemed. After that game, it seemed plausible that James could indeed be a legitimate contender for "greatest ever."
Obviously, he hasn't come close to that level of post season dominance since.
Regardless, he showed the potential. I was looking forward to seeing him develop a killer instinct and give us more performances like that one.
Now, playing next to Dwayne Wade, that seems unlikely.
I doubt I was the only one who had Jordan flashbacks during Game Three of the 2006 Finals. Dwayne Wade put the Heat on his back and prevented them from falling behind Dallas 3-0.
When it was announced that Chris Bosh would be going to Miami, it looked as if Wade would finally have a supporting cast capable of winning another championship.
Then James made his decision.
I don't know if Miami will win the title next year. It depends upon who Pat Riley gets to fill out the roster.
I do know that LeBron James will not score 25 straight points. I also know that Dwayne Wade will not erase a 13-point deficit in the Finals.
In order for the Heat to be successful, each player will have to scale back. Both players ran their respective offenses in the past. They controlled the ball on the majority of their team's possessions. By playing together, neither one can dominate.
Basketball is a team sport. I understand that no one player can win a title alone. However, there has been a rich tradition in the NBA of alpha dogs leading a great team to immortality. Who is the alpha dog of the Miami Heat?
LeBron could have gone to Chicago and immediately been surrounded by talent. New York could have built around him and Amare Stoudemire. In either scenario, he would have been able to build a legacy to rival the all time greats.
It is ridiculous to compare the Heat's Big Three to the Celtics' Big Three of 2008.
LeBron and Wade do many of the same things.
In 2008, each member of the Celtics had a distinct role. Kevin Garnett was a low post player (much like Chris Bosh with defense, but that's where the similarities end). Paul Pierce was the creator on offense. When needed, he could get his own shot. Ray Allen was a deadly shooter who did not need the ball in his hands to be effective. He thrived off the catch and shoot.
LeBron and Wade each need the ball in their hands to score and create for others. Two wing players of their caliber have not joined forces since Jerry West and Elgin Baylor (by the way, those two never won a ring together).
It is also ridiculous to think all Hall of Famers are equal.
One argument that has been tossed around: "Kobe has Gasol, who could end up in the Hall of Fame. Jordan played with Pippen, one the 50 greatest players in the history of the league. Magic and Bird played on teams loaded with Hall of Famers."
Let's say LeBron is now the Heat's best player. Using the argument above is flat out disrespectful to Dwayne Wade. Wade is not Gasol, Pippen, Worthy, or Parish. He has shown that he can be the best player on a championship team.
Miami's "super team" is nothing like Jordan's Bulls or Kobe's Lakers.
Purists often bemoan the fact that this generation of players lack the competitiveness of the historic greats. Magic and Bird hated each other. Jordan wanted to destroy everyone in his way.
In the 21st century, players have often times known each other since AAU. They are friends off the court. They hug like long lost brothers before and after games.
LeBron's decision has taken this to a new level.
Instead of wanting to compete against Dwayne Wade, he joined him. The two should have battled against each other in the Eastern Conference Finals for years to come. That clearly is not going to happen.
Is it egotistical to want to be the best player on a team? Yes, but no more egotistical than naming a Twitter account "KingJames" or having an hour long show called "The Decision".
I want great players to want to be the greatest.
I don't think the star needs to take every last shot (especially if Robert Horry is on the court). I don't like selfish basketball. I admired LeBron for his ability to make teammates better.
I do think that a team needs an alpha dog to step up and take over the game in certain situations.
The Miami Heat will be the most intriguing part of the 2010 season. They may very well dominate the next five years.
Regardless of their success, LeBron James will never have an era to call his own.
We will never see a LeBron vs. Wade Conference Finals.
We will never see either star put a team on their back again.
When the Miami experiment in over, what will we have really witnessed?
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