Life was so simple two weeks ago. Bosh was still in Toronto. LeBron was still in Cleveland. And the sporting world actually paid proper respect to the original big three in Boston. All that is gone now and we can only hearken back to a gentler time, where a team’s worth was court-tested and proven, and where reverence outlasted idol worship.
Nostalgia aside, we’re in the here and now and one must assess the situation as it stands. So, it’s time to inject truth into the magical mystery world of James worshippers and far-too-early Heat wagon riders.
Miami, heavy a two-time MVP and PF All-Star or not, have a lot of work to do to prove their worth. Boston, on the other hand, with most of its core squad still in place, missed hoisting up a second championship trophy in three years by one blatant travel call missed, one ubercharge from Kobe left uncalled and about, oh, 15,591 pointless forth-quarter LA free throws.
Needless to say, the Boston Celtics are a championship caliber team. And with the addition of O’Neal, the C’s pick up yet another solid post player who can help out during the playoffs.
The Miami Heat, on the flip side of life, are taking a huge gamble by trying to piece together an Olympic-like squad of ball-hog specialists in order to walk their way to glory instead of fighting for it.
LeBron’s jump leaves the Cavaliers out of contention. Bosh’s leap means Toronto won’t be competing. Two good Eastern Conference teams were sacrificed for one hopefully awesome team in a trio’s strange game meets NBA next-level basketball.
The difference in Boston’s big three is simple. Ray, KG and Pierce were playing on habitually terrible ball clubs, years removed from the limelight, and at a point in their careers where unselfishness and actual team basketball was the only option.
The marriage was—and still is—a beautiful thing to watch. The three players were drastically different in terms of skill set, and all three, along with an upstart Rondo and still learning Perkins, sacrificed for the greater good.
Remember that, Miami, the first time LeBron turns to Terrell Owens when D-Wade takes the last shot, or when Bosh kicks the chair out after James puts up 40 on 30 shots in a losing effort.
The fact of the matter is that the NBA isn’t the Olympic Games. You can’t superstar your way to greatness; you have to play your way there.
So for everyone already penciling in Miami, don’t be surprised when a high seeded Celtics team knocks them out in 6 games.