Quantcast 2010 Miami Heat Basketball: LeBron To Miami: The Ripple Effect

 

2 Months Later: The Ripple Effect of LeBron to Miami

 

 

It’s been a couple months since LeBron James agitated many NBA fans with his infamous decision to head to South Beach. Fans of the league are dealing with this offseason in a various amount of ways. Bulls and Knicks fans are trying to look past the fact that they came up empty in the LeBron sweepstakes, seeking to be satisfied with the additions of their respective power forwards, Carlos Boozer and Amar’e Stoudemire. Cavalier’s fans remain infuriated because the neighborhood hero is no longer a hero, and the dwindled roster they have left makes Clevelanders more excited about the Browns upcoming season. And many other NBA fans are looking toward the ’10-11 season with disgust because the likes of LeBron, Dwayne Wade, and Chris Bosh have now formed a threesome that the league has never before seen, and it didn’t help that the three new amigos in Miami were introduced like WWE stars while the city of Miami heralded posters that boastfully claimed, “Yes. We. Did.” The NBA has never experienced an offseason like this one before. It has been hyped up for numerous years and it didn’t disappoint from a drama standpoint, but it did disappoint from a fan standpoint in basically everywhere but Miami and this is understandable, because LeBron’s decision is going to alter the league in ways that we are slowly beginning to realize.

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NBA fans have witnessed the dynamic duos of Magic & Kareem, Jordan & Pippen, Shaq & Kobe, and Stockton & Malone. We’ve even seen prominent threesomes, such as the Celtics of the 80’s featuring Bird, McHale, & Parish, the 80’s Lakers of Magic, Kareem, & Worthy, the late 90’s Bulls of Jordan, Pippen, & Rodman, and the most recent Boston “Big Three” of Garnett, Pierce, & Allen. These duos and trios all disclose that championship teams feature numerous elite players and not one remarkable talent. But has the league ever before seen what they are doing in Miami? The above arrangements featured plenty of all stars and feared players, but we have never witnessed three players, amidst their prime, join forces in a way that will inevitably cause a ripple effect throughout the league.

Part of what makes fans sick about this is that James, Wade, and Bosh all agreed to go to the same place. They were not drafted together. Magic was drafted by the Lakers and got to play with Kareem. Pippen was drafted by the Bulls and learned to be a Hall of Fame wingman to MJ. And even Kobe was a draft day trade to the Lakers and Shaq. There’s something about players getting drafted by the same team that our conscience allows. We can deal with that. Surely many people disliked the Bulls of the 90’s, but no one disrespected Pippen and Jordan for playing together. They always had. And the same goes for the Lakers of the 80’s, the Celtics of the 80’s, and the Shaq and Kobe-led Lakers. Even the recent Boston Celtics’ “Big Three,” while they were not drafted together, chose to join up past the primes of their career. There’s something about this that we can deal with as well, but the manner in which James, Wade, and Bosh are all now suddenly in Miami is distasteful. Michael Jordan implied a few weeks back that he would have never joined up with Magic or Larry, because he stated, “I was trying to beat those guys.” There is an element to that statement that made the league great. The rivalries and loyalty elevated the NBA. People often forget that the Bulls lost in the playoffs to the Pistons three times before finally sweeping them in 1991. And when Jordan and Pippen finally got past that hurdle, they accomplished a feat that will always be a part of their legacy. Can you imagine Bulls fans in particular, if Jordan would have desired to leave for a different team during those frustrating summers after losing to Detroit? If he did, the league would have suffered. Rivalries would have been abandoned. Loyalty would have been forgotten. And players around the league would start teaming up in various locations, seeking to fortify the league’s best team.

 

 

I don’t want to disrespect LeBron if he soon wins a championship in Miami, because no matter what, winning in the league is tough. But players around the league, who also want to win championships, have now witnessed his departure from Cleveland and are thus left pondering what to do next. We aren’t going to see many superstars want to remain as their team’s prized individual while LeBron and Co. are creating their own dynasty. They are going to want to create their own dynasty themselves and join up with whoever is on the table. And as a result, the NBA is in the process of becoming similar to a Dynasty Mode on a video game, as players will soon be bounced into places where they find themselves wearing the same jersey as fellow all stars. Carmelo Anthony and Chris Paul are names that have already been mentioned, and those are likely not mere rumors. They will need to go elsewhere if they ever want to win a championship. It seems that just about every day there is a new rumor arising- “Carmelo to New York,” “Paul to Orlando, or maybe New York, or maybe Portland,” “Both Carmelo and Paul to New York,” “Deron Williams to Dallas,” and the list goes on.

We will continue to hear these things and the truth is that some things are going to happen. General Managers and players are not going to grow content watching a dynasty be built in Miami. There will have to be a response. And sadly, some of what has made the league great will be compromised. Loyalty and the quest to conquer a rivalry will no longer be a vital factor. The solidarity that a team possesses will slowly give way to a league that is top heavy, with potentially two or three teams that have a chance to win the championship in a season. And this will likely start next year. Does anyone foresee anyone other than the Lakers or Heat winning the championship next season? Some may say Boston or Orlando, but the truth is that the league will be dramatically narrowed down by LeBron’s decision. Imagine if he would have stayed in Cleveland- then you’d have Cleveland, Boston, Orlando, Miami (assuming they kept Wade and did acquire Bosh), and a much-improved Chicago team battling it out, and that would have just been the Eastern conference.

And so we will wait and see what happens next. And for many NBA fans, this isn’t easy to watch. At this moment, many of the league’s former greats shine very brightly. We’re thankful for the excitement, competition, and assertion that was seen in the likes of Magic, Bird, and Jordan, as well as an admirable and faith filled individual like David Robinson. Players such as these, who brought character and life to the league, are refreshing to think back upon. Many of us are hoping for the Miami operation to be a failed experiment, for egos to clash and for control of the team to be fought for. We would love to see a quality all around team, like the ’04 Pistons, take down the squad with an array of great players, similar to the ’04 Lakers. But in reality we are probably amidst a league shakeup, and we are just beginning to see the ripple effect of a decision by LeBron that defies the normality and tradition that the league has grown accustomed to possessing.

 

 

By Haddon Anderson
Pro Basketball Staff Writer


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