“I’m taking my talents to South Beach” are the words, uttered on July 10th, 2010, that forever changed the landscape of the NBA. When Lebron James decided to abandon the Cleveland Cavaliers and join friends Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade in Miami, a new trend was created in the NBA. Super teams had become the focal point of the league. How many superstar players on a team does it take to win a NBA Championship? The days of one superstar and two sidekick stars are long gone now. Get used to players calling each other and planning to move to teams in order to ease their path towards the Larry O’Brien Trophy.
NBA Super Teams Are Taking Over the League
The days when we would awe at the one on one showdowns between Michael Jordan and Isaiah Thomas are over. We can say goodbye to Reggie Miller taking on John Starks and all of New York. No more classic Charles Barkley and Karl Malone battles in the paint. In today’s age of basketball, we can imagine these rivals joining teams to play together. Throughout the late 80’s and 90’s, fans were blessed with the best basketball, where superstar players were eager to take on their rivals. Where has this type of competition gone? Michael Jordan would not even let the idea of joining Larry Bird, Isaiah Thomas, or John Stockton cross his mind. What made this 15 to 20-year period of basketball so amazing to watch was that superstar players were scattered across the league amongst different teams. Teams were formed around one franchise player surrounded by complimentary players. A team had maybe only two All-Stars and was really focused around one or two true stars. In the 90’s, the Bulls, Suns, Jazz, and Pistons followed this idea. They were all very successful, reaching and/or winning multiple NBA Championships. Even the Lakers, in the early 2000’s, with Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant were very successful, winning three NBA Championships by building around two star players.
In today’s generation, Lebron James and Dwyane Wade should want to tip off against each other. Instead, they joined forces and formed one of the most hated teams in NBA history. After going 2 for 4 in the NBA Finals, Lebron left Miami to go back home to Cleveland and form the newest super team with Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love. Dwight Howard went searching for the best super team he could form. He tried the Lakers with Kobe Bryant and now ponders his next move as he currently suits up alongside James Harden in Houston. The league’s biggest story stems from Oklahoma City’s Kevin Durant, who enters free agency this summer. The Washington Wizards and the Golden State Warriors are two possible suitors for Durant’s services. Durant’s decision to leave the Thunder could change the landscape of the league again.
Teams need to focus on building through the draft just as Oklahoma City and San Antonio did in today’s era of basketball. This will bring long-lasting success to franchises and establish a cohesive unit for the team. If stars are scattered amongst the league, the competition is balanced throughout the season and the playoffs while fans can enjoy watching star players go up against each other constantly. Small-market teams would have a foundation to build off of and the average NBA fan would enjoy more close and balanced games, without the usual blowouts during the regular season. However, it starts with individual players to prevent such super teams from ruling the NBA and making playoff basketball a battle really between four or five teams. True superstar and Hall of Fame basketball players should have the desire to go up against other highly touted players in the league. Rather than joining forces with Kobe Bryant, Dwight Howard should have stayed patient and continued to carry the Orlando Magic. After reaching the Finals with the Magic, a team built around him, Howard wanted to team up with another superstar badly. As a result, his impatience and craving to win a championship drove him further away from his hopes of earning a ring.
The NBA right now is filled with super teams, where players specifically group up with other super stars to form a team which can immediately contend for a title. This trend in basketball proves that players in the NBA do not have the drive that inspired players like Larry Bird, Magic Johnson, Hakeem Olajuwon, and Michael Jordan, who wanted to beat the best in their generations to be the best. Now the league is in an unfortunate predicament, where star players and future Hall of Famers such as James, Wade, and Bosh, have to all come together to win championships. If NBA players really want to be the best and forever etch their names in NBA glory, then they need to become obsessed with beating rival superstars, instead of wanting to join forces. Looking back, we can blame the free agency frenzy of 2010 for forever changing the way basketball is played.