By R. Behar
The modern NBA is flooded with superteams; teams that have three or more All-Stars on their roster. This team model has become a recent trend in winning championships. While many welcome the presence of superteams in the current NBA landscape, others criticise the new model of championship teams arguing it destroys competition and the loyalty of players to their respective teams. Either way, superteams have revolutionised the way basketball is played in the NBA and led to major impacts on the game worldwide. Therefore, it is important that we understand how this revolutionary concept came about by looking at the creation of the one super team: the Miami Heat from 2011 to 2014.
The Miami superteam from 2011 to 2014 was known for its star triumvirate of Lebron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh. In the 4 seasons they spent together, they won 2 straight championships while racking up 224 wins in the regular season. Under coach Erik Spoelstra, the Heat became one of the best teams of all time, dominating the Eastern Conference Finals four years in a row. The story of how this team came together, however, is as impressive as their success, which is largely due to their three All-Stars.
Dwyane Wade, a 5th round draft choice by the Heat in 2003, was one of the most versatile guards in the NBA. In only his 3rd season in the NBA, he had helped the Heat win their first championship alongside Shaquille O'Neal. By 2010, Wade was the only star in Miami looking to win at least one playoff series; something the Heat had not accomplished since winning the championship in 2006. Wade was on the verge of testing Free Agency, but he remained confident and loyal to the team that selected him, choosing to stay in Miami and look to the future.
Chris Bosh, the underrated member of the Big Three, was a Toronto Raptor in 2010. Much like Wade, Bosh had failed to achieve playoff success with a lacklustre Raptors team. When Bosh suffered a facial injury in the final games of the 2009-10 season, Toronto's hopes of a playoff push were gone. After seven years with the Raptors, Bosh left Canada for tropical Miami, where he teamed up with Dwyane Wade; both announced they would play for the Heat at the same time. What was impressive was the ability of the Heat's front office to manage all these stars. After various trades, contract buyouts, and layoffs, the team had managed to create enough cap space to sign a few stars.
Lebron James, the small forward some consider the best basketball player of all time, was the final building block for the Heat to form the first ever super team. Lebron and the Cleveland Cavaliers hadn't had any concrete success in years. Although the team reached the Finals several times, such as in 2010, where Lebron had led a terrible Cavaliers team to the best record in the league. However, success failed to materialise as the Celtics ended the Cavs' run in the 2nd round of the playoffs. When the playoffs ended, Lebron's contract expired, allowing the superstar to test Free Agency. Teams from around the league made offers, and the Cavaliers were also desperate to keep their star: their only hope of winning. The Heat took a different approach. To convince him of the success they would have, Pat Riley, the Heat's general manager, dumped his collection of championship rings on a table to show Lebron what could come from his move to Miami. On July 8, 2010, it was time for Lebron to make his decision and announce it to the world when he was broadcast by ESPN and made one of the most important announcements in basketball history. In hindsight, we can say that his decision was a no brainer but we can be sure that it was a decision that marked basketball forever.