Lebron James. Just saying that name can bring out many different emotions in many people. Some people hate him, others love him and almost everyone HAS to respect his game. Whatever emotion any fan has towards the guy, the fact remains that he is one of the greatest basketball players in the game today. That might be why he is such a polarizing figure. Big stars can definitely take both sides of the coin, the hate and the love, and their ability to take it is part of what made them a big success in the first place.
Everyone knows the story about how he was drafted by Cleveland, played until free agency kicked in and in his words, “took his talents to south beach” to play for the Heat. He orchestrated the whole thing on television which seemed to leave a bitter taste in everyone’s mouth and he also coordinated with the Heat and his buddies Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh to self anoint themselves as the “big three.” They had a whole entrance on TV introducing the two newest members of the Heat, Bosh and James, to the fans and getting Wade to come out for some interviews with them. It made it seem that with these three players the Heat would be unstoppable. Lebron himself even went on to ramble on about how many championships this team would win with these guys at the helm. He seemed to begin mumbling when he reached about 5 or 6, maybe because he cannot count higher than that or maybe because he knew he would be promising too much.
How does the story end? No one knows yet because his career with the Heat and in the NBA is far from over. Some of his prophecy has come true though. The Heat have really been a great team since he has been there. The franchise had a Championship prior to his arrival, so he did not start from scratch like he was attempting to do in Cleveland, but with him in the line up, the Heat were on a mission. The team delivered. In 2011, the team made it to the Final for the first time since their Championship in 2006. The lost to the experience of Mark Cuban‘s Dallas Mavericks led by Dirk Nowitzki. After that season, the Heat looked themselves in the mirror and did not look back. They made it to the Final in the next two seasons and won both times. Lebron’s words were coming true. Not one, not two…well, let’s see how far that goes. The East is not exactly easy pickings like it was the last couple of seasons anymore. Many people want the Heat and Lebron to win again. Many people do not. What would a third championship in a row mean to the NBA? To the Heat? To James?
5. The Dynasty
The NBA is not exactly a stranger to a dynasty team in their midst. You don’t even have to go too far back and look at the Lakers of the early 2000’s and the Jordan led Bulls of the 90’s. You cannot forget the Magic Johnson era of the Lakers again and the Larry Bird days with the Celtics either. Has the NBA ever not had a dynasty team? Bottom line is that a dynasty like the Heat are building right now is good for the NBA. It creates rivalries; it creates something for other teams to aspire to. It also creates hate, which is just old fashioned fuel to a fire. Everyone wants to beat the Heat. Everyone in the league wants to wipe that smug smile off Lebron’s face and imitate his throwing chalk in the air before a game. That just creates players who will work harder against him and coaches who will find better strategies to shut him down.
4. The Challenge
For Lebron, it must be flattering to have all this attention paid to him because of his skills. For coaches and opposing players to be scheming game plans to shut him down must be a real challenge. If he is the kind of player who revels in that, well, kudos to him and to his teammates for finding ways to help him out. He really seems to be revelling in it since they have been to the NBA final three years in a row. James has been improving his game tremendously, probably based on the fact that other guys are just focusing on him out there. Sure it is a team game, but when a strategy to win a game goes through one player, that player either has to step it up or rely on his teammates. James seems to be doing a bit of both but his production is not going down. That means he is really challenging himself to be better and is getting it done. Three times in a row might be a bit too far, but other have surely done it before. Perhaps the Heat will have what it takes.
3. The Glory
The glory goes for the team and the players on it. There is nothing like a winning a championship in professional sports. It is said all too many times after championship games. Imagine three in a row? What can be better than that? Just living in that glow of a championship season for one more year can really make a city feel special. A third championship in a row would immortalize most of the players and the history books will always have them in the class and stratosphere of the greatest teams of all-time. The glory would literally last forever and the Heat won’t be remembered as the team that Lebron James put on his shoulders and carried. The whole team played, the whole city cheered and that team will forever be crowned with a threepeat, not something done very often in any of the other major sports. The third win would invigorate a city, the players and the management because after one you want more, after three? We can only imagine that the team would never want to let that go…ever.
2. The Money
Let’s take a little look at the serious side of this for a minute. Championships make teams money. If a team did not make money with a Championship they could not pay the players more to incentivise them to win more championships. It’s a circle of greed, and perhaps corruption at times, but the point is that a third championship would really make a team richer than it already is. Three years in the positive! That would definitely help.
What about the league? With a star like James and three-time championship team like the Heat, the league is surely to go on a recruiting mission for new fans. Not literally of course, but the attraction to a league with a massive star like James is something that fans eat up. Especially young fans who are still learning the game or seeing what sport they might like. Seeing James holding that trophy over his head year after year will make some kids love him and beg their father to buy his jersey. Suddenly the league is getting money that they weren’t getting before because soneone’s father was only a baseball fan. It always comes down to money. It always does and in this case, three championships in a row with a big star on the team will likely lead to more dollars for the NBA
1. The Revenge
Purely for Lebron of course, the Heat have no beef with the rest of the league or with the fans. Lebron has plenty. All the haters who burned his Cavaliers jerseys, all the fans who said he did not have what it took to win, all the analysts who said he could not get it done when the game was on the line, will all have to eat their words, if they have not already. Two is no easy task but with a third, Lebron can just look them in the eye and they would have no choice but to shut their mouth out of pure, unfiltered respect. He would join the ranks of Jordan, Bryant, Bird, Johnson and others, and no one could say boo.
If Lebron wins three in a row, it will be great for his career, it will be great for his life and great for the NBA.