Ah, winning an NBA Championship. The greatest feeling a pro basketball player could ever feel. All the hard work, blood and sweat, determination, and time away from family has all finally paid off.
It is something that only 17 NBA franchises have ever won, with the Los Angeles Lakers winning 16 times.
Only the Boston Celtics, Los Angeles Lakers, Detroit Pistons, Chicago Bulls, and Houston Rockets have ever won back-to-back titles, and Boston, L.A., and Chicago are the only teams to win three in a row.
The pressures of being crowned NBA Champions and coming into the next season as defending world champions is a stature in and of itself. Dealing with players leaving, injuries, coaching changes, or even management changes can all come into effect when trying to repeat the next season.
But trying to come back and win the title for a third straight year? The pressures and stakes of winning a third championship in a row should never be higher for one team.
Who Has More Pressure?
Not the case for the Los Angeles Lakers going into the 2010-11 season. Why you might ask?
Most of you may already know the answer: The Miami Heat's so called "super-team" down in South Beach.
The Heat have added two perennial All-Stars to play alongside one already, as LeBron James and Chris Bosh joined Dwyane Wade in Miami.
The Heat have also many other great players to their roster. Past All-Stars in Juwan Howard and Zydrunas Ilgauskas are onboard, arguably the best pure shooter in the league, Mike Miller, and savvy veteran Eddie House.
On paper these Heat cannot lose!
While that may seem the case, everyone is forgetting about those back-to-back champion Lakers, who have added a few pieces to their championship team.
Matt Barnes—a great veteran defender who played for the Magic last season and was in charge of guarding his now teammate, Kobe Bryant and the other premier wing players in the league—has joined the Lakers. Barnes also has the range to step back and hit some big threes next season.
Former Portland Trail Blazer Steve Blake will come in and give the Lakers energy, three-point shooting, and defense off of the bench.
Theo Ratliff is the one that most forgotten pick-ups by the Lakers., and he is a great pick-up in my eyes. He is a crafty veteran on defense, blocks shots, and is a solid body to intimidate opponents from coming into the paint. He is going to be a great backup for the Lakers.
The Lakers also brought back Shannon Brown. Brown has been a great spark for them off the bench for the past few seasons. He brings energy, athleticism and monstrous dunks, coming off the bench.
Anyway, back to the point of this article.
There is much talk about the super Heat. They are already the favorites to win next season based on the odds in Vegas (We have all seen Vegas lose before in predicting winners.), and recently Jeff Van Gundy stated that the Heat will eclipse the immortal 72-win season, set by the Bulls back in the 1995-96 season.
So while the Heat are getting all their two or even more months of fame, the Lakers are working their butts off this offseason and just going about next season like it was any other.
Sure, they are defending back-to-back champions, and there is always pressure of being the best team again the next season. But with the media coverage that the Heat are getting, the Lakers are not getting the same old pressure they got last offseason when they were looking to repeat as champions. Reporters were bearing Kobe with questions about repeating, and the pressure of being the best team going into the following season.
You do not see that anymore. Why? Because of the newfound team that is going to apparently win championships for the next five seasons.
So honestly what pressures do the Lakers really have to worry about?
They can go out there and just simply play basketball and win games like they're supposed to. I am not sitting here and saying that the Lakers have no pressure on three-peating next season, but there is not as much thanks to the so-called "Miami Thrice."
I shall leave you with the great words spoken by none other than Kobe Bryant, said before the start of the 2009-10 season. (Paraphrased).
"Going into next season, we are not looking to repeat as champions. Myself and my teammates are going out there and looking to win us a championship."