The Miami Heat has just become the pulse of the NBA. Miami is already the No. 1 party choice for most and now the Heat’s home games will be crammed with who’s who 41 times (plus playoff games) next season.
The Heat’s floor seats have just become the most valuable tickets in all of sports. I heard season-ticket sales were close to being sold out when Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh committed on Wednesday, but those prices on the street jumped like the stock market when LeBron James announced that he would be leaving Cleveland and joining forces in Miami with those two.
With all respect to Wade and Bosh, LeBron signing there takes the Heat organization to a place no team has experienced since the Chicago Bulls were led by Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen and Dennis Rodman.
I can imagine what a circus traveling with this team will be because I experienced it when I played with the Houston Rockets in 1997, when Hakeem Olajuwon, Charles Barkley and Clyde Drexler. And then again a few years later when Scottie Pippen stepped in for a retiring Drexler.
I foresee crowds of people at every hotel on road trips despite arriving at 2 am most times. All teams will be changing their season-tickets packages to highlight this road show.
I am sure the NBA would rather have all three players leading their own team, but this team will crossover thousands of fans that ordinarily would not be attending a game. This is still a huge boost for the league regardless.
I am not surprised by King James' decision and I believe that these three stars can coexist. Mainly because I think LeBron is the most unselfish basketball star in the league along with Tim Duncan, Kevin Garnett and Steve Nash. Points have never mattered to him and it’s all based on the belief that he can dominate a game without scoring a bunch of points.
I expect LeBron to mesh with Wade and Bosh just like Magic Johnson did with Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and James Worthy and like Larry Bird did with Kevin McHale and Robert Parish.
I firmly believe he will flirt with averaging a triple-double next season as well.
People, please think before you call him a traitor and selfish. Remember most athletes are maligned for chasing the money... He is leaving 30 million on the table and a city that he owned. This move seems all about him thinking a championship can be won in Miami and that is it. He can be wrong like Cavs owner Dan Gilbert said would occur in the end, but right now he made a career decision and in America that’s why we fought wars – so we can have freedom to make choices.
So now let’s look at past greats of the game.
Bill Russell had John Havlicek, Bob Cousy, Jo-Jo White and Sam Jones; Magic Johnson had Kareem, Worthy and Byron Scott; Larry Bird had Kevin McHale, Robert Parish and Dennis Johnson; Isiah Thomas had Joe Dumars, Bill Laimbeer, Dennis Rodman, Vinnie Johnson and perennial All-Star Mark Aguirre; Michael Jordan had Scottie Pippen and Dennis Rodman; Tim Duncan had David Robinson, Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker for multiple championships. Kobe Bryant now has Pau Gasol, Lamar Odom, Ron Artest and Andrew Bynum.
So I ask... What is LeBron is doing differently? I am sure Wade and Bosh would have seriously thought about going to Cleveland as a duo if they had the cap space for all three.
This is about joining forces to win championships and we have to applaud the sacrifice that these great players are trying to execute for the good of winning.
LeBron and Bosh have heard the negative comments about the lack of titles, so it’s fitting they make the sacrifice to join a player in Wade who has experienced winning a title.
Michael Jordan got ripped for being selfish and not living up to expectations his first seven years and I ask... Who are we constantly comparing LeBron to?
When James realized Cleveland would not be able to get him the kind of help past stars had, that made his decision easier. And, quite frankly, I think he made up his mind two years ago.
I thought Danny Ferry did a tremendous job, but he made a fatal mistake in not chasing down spot up shooters like Channing Frye, Eddie House, Kyle Korver, etcetera, to surround James. It forced James to score more than he would like when it was obvious from Day 1 he enjoyed passing the ball. The mistake was thinking he was the second coming of Jordan instead of Magic Johnson. When teams like Boston and Orlando locked in on him come playoff time, he didn’t have the Steve Kerrs, John Paxsons and Derek Fishers of the world to trust when he gave the ball up.
So off to South Beach he goes and I believe that is where he will win multiple championships. It will not be easy the first year and mainly because they will have zero money to pick up some good experienced role players, but the Celtics of 2008 got lucky and found Rajon Rondo, Kendrick Perkins and Glen Davis. So Pat Riley will have to search the bottom feeders in the league and come up with some diamonds or convince some veterans around the league to take the minimum salary to have a chance to win a title and reap the rewards of a contract down the line.
I also assume he would say, “Look, if you are going to make less money, why not do it and have fun in South Beach?”
Finally, I agree with most basketball people that Chicago was his best team choice in terms of roster, but the most important feeling is playing with players you are comfortable with on and off the court and so that is why he chose Wade and Bosh.
I personally wanted him to stay in Cleveland, but who am I to judge him on this decision? This is his career and he knows that if he didn't win a title he would be labeled the biggest failure up to date in basketball history. So although I understand why Cleveland, New York, New Jersey, Clippers and Chicago might feel jilted from the results of last night, they still have to respect his decision because if Miami finds a few components this trio could win multiple championships starting next year.
We are all witnesses and I can’t wait to see how it all plays out in 2011.