Miami Heat's Big Three: Can They Back Up the Big Talk?

Jeff KalafaAnalyst IIIJuly 11, 2010

MIAMI - JULY 09:  Chris Bosh #1, Dwyane Wade #3, and LeBron James #6 of the Miami Heat are introduced to fans during a welcome party at American Airlines Arena on July 9, 2010 in Miami, Florida.  (Photo by Doug Benc/Getty Images)
Doug Benc/Getty Images

"Seven or eight championships."

"We're the best 'Big Three' ever." 

Some pretty "big" words from three guys who between them have one NBA championship in a combined 21 seasons.

LeBron James probably didn't know where he was last night.  He left a real town, with real people, to attend what looked like a Hannah Montana concert with 15,000 of Miami's fairest weather fans in the audience.

Best big three ever!  Dwayne Wade might have been part of a better big three in 2006 when the Heat won their first NBA Championship: Shaquille O' Neal, himself, and pick someone (maybe Udonis Haslem).

This is going to be a new experience for Heat General Manager Pat Riley.  When Riley was coaching, he won five NBA Championships, and he played in five other championship series.  He always had a center on his team.

And Riley's centers weren't just centers—he had Hall of Famers Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (Los Angeles), Patrick Ewing (New York), and Shaquille O' Neal (Miami). In Miami he had two Hall of Fame centers, and he needed Alonzo Morning to lock down the championship over the Dallas Mavericks.

The New York Knicks had a big three when they won an NBA championship in 1970.  Hall of Famers Willis Reed, Dave Debusschere, and Walt Frazier helped them defeat the Lakers

The Lakers had a big three of their own—Wilt Chamberlain, Jerry West, and Elgin Baylor.

The Knicks also had a bench they relied on.  What kind of bench will this Heat team have?  The Big Three can't all be on the court, all of the time.  Can the Heat get any role players if they spent all their money on the Big Three?

The Lakers and the Celtics of the 1980s both had their own big threes.  The Celtics had Hall of Famers Larry Bird, Kevin McHale, and Robert Parish.  They also had a "Big Two" to back them up.  Dennis Johnson and Danny Ainge were two of the best guards in the league when the Celtics won three NBA Championships in six years.

The Lakers had Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Magic Johnson, and James Worthy.  Can you imagine a better big three?  These guys were all first picks in their respective NBA draft—Jabbar (69), Johnson (79), and Worthy (82).

And the San Antonio Spurs won three NBA championships between 2003 and 2007.  Their big three of Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili, and Tony Parker were one of the best.

What have Dwayne Wade, LeBron James, and Chris Bosh done yet besides making some bold statements? 

Can they play together?  Can they handle teams like Orlando and Boston with big physical presences?  Can they get out of the Eastern Conference?

Each of these guys have a big X on their backs.  Every team in the league is going to raise their level of play when they meet them.  Each regular season game is going to have the intensity of the playoffs.

Do they need to add fuel to the fire by saying they're going to win seven or eight championships? 

I'm sure Bill Russell and Michael Jordan are worried about their legacies.


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