It was in July of 2010 when roster construction in the NBA would be changed forever thanks to Lebron James, Chris Bosh, and Dwyane Wade. Dubbed the decision, ESPN, a global cable and satellite sports television channel, had a live special of James announcing he would sign with the Miami Heat.
Though the special was unnecessary, as Bosh and Wade announced they were signing with the Heat the days before, the telecast, broadcast from the Boys & Girls Club of Greenwich, Connecticut, raised approximately $2.5 million for the charity. In addition, approximately $3.5 million of the advertisement revenue, was donated to several charities, totaling around $7 million. Throughout free agency, it was speculated James, Bosh and Wade would sign with the same team.
Astonishingly, later reports suggested the trio conceptualized the idea of playing together as early as 2006. But ultimately, James cited the reasons he joined Bosh and Wade was because he wouldn’t have to be the primary scorer, and they gave him a better opportunity to win championship rings, something he hadn’t obtained at the time in his career.
Ultimately, James spent four years in Miami before opting out of his contract, and returning to the team he left in free agency in 2010, the Cleveland Cavaliers. Before leaving, James snagged two rings in 2012 and 2013 over the Thunder and Spurs respectively, and obtained his third with the Cavaliers his first season back in 2016. However, it was in the summer of 2016 when James’ actions officially ruined competition, and viewership, in the NBA for the foreseeable future.
Remember, James said he joined Bosh and Wade because they gave him a better opportunity to win a championship ring. Also, keep in mind that one of the teams James, and the Heat, defeated to obtain one of their rings was the Oklahoma City Thunder. One of the players on the Thunder team that year was Kevin Durant, so he got to see first hand the dominance James, Bosh, and Wade had on his team together, dubbed a super team.
According to a CBS Sports article, a super team needs at least two superstars, and one star. In addition, a super team can’t come from the draft alone. Looking back at NBA history, based on the criteria there’s been six super teams in the league’s history. Shockingly, the first super team was not the 2010-2011 Miami Heat, but the 03-04 Los Angeles Lakers.
Based on the previous criteria, the 03-04 Lakers were a super team, but Gary Payton and Karl Malone were in the twilight of their careers when they joined Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal. After that, the 07-08 Boston Celtics qualify as a super team, but Rajon Rondo hadn’t hit his prime when the team was initially constructed.
More importantly, the team was constructed via trade, and here’s where we break away from the article’s criteria. The Celtics’ super team was organic, as it wasn’t three athletes having a preconceived plan to play together years before they did. It was the right time, right place for Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, and Ray Allen. Circling back to the article, the 2016-2017 Golden State Warriors make an appearance on the list.
The Warriors fielded a team this past year that had four superstars: Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green, and Durant. Durant’s decision to join the Warriors is directly associated with James’ move to Miami a few years ago, as it was either the dominance he saw James’s super team have on his Thunder team or the rings he saw James obtain that caused him to make a similar move to the Warriors.
After careful consideration, Durant’s move is similar to James’ move, but not the same. The year before James and Bosh signed to the Heat the team finished 47-35, and were eliminated in the first round of the playoffs. To put that into perspective, the year before Durant signed to the Warriors the team finished 73-9, and lost 3-4 to the Cavaliers in the NBA Finals.
This year, the Warriors finished 67-15, with Durant missing part of the regular season, and defeated the Cavaliers 4-1 in the NBA Finals. Unlike the super teams in the past, the Warriors are poised to run the league for at least one more year, unless the Cavaliers obtain another superstar, as the aforementioned core four are okay taking pay cuts to stay together, according to a Fox Sports article.
In reality, Durant makes the Warriors a super team, as the other three superstars were drafted by the team. Durant, and the Thunder, blew a 3-1 lead in the Western Conference finals against the Warriors the year before he joined them as well. While people bash Durant for joining the 73 win team he couldn’t beat the year before, ultimately it’s James’ fault for officially creating super teams.
In fact, when asked about his creation James had this to say.
“I don’t believe I’ve played for a super team,” James said in response to a question by Basketball Insiders’ Eric Pincus. “I don’t believe in that.”
James must not believe in competition, and NBA viewership, because as long as the Warriors’ super team exist both will be down.