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Sports Then and Now

Win Or Bust: Will The Miami Heat Seal Their Legacy With A Three-peat? 3

Posted on January 17, 2014 by Kimberly Baker
Will Chris Bosh, LeBron James and Dwyane Wade be able to lead the Miami Heat to a third straight title?

Will Chris Bosh, LeBron James and Dwyane Wade be able to lead the Miami Heat to a third straight title?

The Miami Heat are in a position to prove the world that they are one of the all-time greatest teams in NBA history. By pulling off a three-peat, they will join the ranks of the Minneapolis Lakers of the 1950s, the Boston Celtics of 1960’s, the Chicago Bulls of the 1990s, and the Los Angeles Lakers of the 2000’s.

While many NBA betting odds makers believe that the Heat are poised to win this year because of their accomplishments in the last two seasons, it should be remembered that winning three straight championships is not easy. Just ask Hakeem Olajuwon, Isaiah Thomas, and Magic Johnson, among others. They won back to back championships only to fail in their quest to win the third one. Read the rest of this entry →

Miami Heat Are Great, But Not GREAT 6

Posted on May 26, 2013 by Dean Hybl

The 1973 New York Knicks featured six future Hall of Fame players as well as one player (can you recognize him in this photo?) who would go on to become a HOF coach.

There has been quite a bit of discussion in recent weeks regarding how the current Miami Heat compare to some of the great teams in NBA history.

A pair of Hall of Famers and former New York Knicks stars Walt Frazier and Earl “The Pearl” Monroe have especially been criticized for daring to suggest that while the Heat are an excellent team, they have no business being considered among the great teams in NBA history.

It seems popular in our current society to think that whatever is happening now is “bigger”, “better” and “greater” than anything that could have ever happened in the “old days”. To today’s 20-somethings, NBA history means acknowledging that there was indeed a league before LeBron James and past stars like Magic Johnson, Michael Jordan, Larry Bird and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar are better known as television pitch-men than for anything they ever did on the court.

To the current generation, the standard for a “great” team has been a squad with two or three legitimate All-Stars and then a collection of solid role players.  That model actually dates all the way back to the Chicago Bulls teams of the 1990s when Jordan, Scottie Pippen, Horace Grant (for the first three)/Dennis Rodman (for the last three) and a bunch of guys who made occasional contributions and filled specific roles won six titles.

Of course the “big three” of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh are the latest and greatest example of this strategy for building a team. Since their celebrated move to Miami in 2010 this group has led the Heat to a pair of appearances in the NBA Finals and the 2012 title. This season the Heat won 37 of their final 39 games, including 27 straight, and appear poised for another title run. Read the rest of this entry →

LeBron James: Legacy vs. Championships 1

Posted on July 23, 2010 by Ryan Heller

Will it hurt LeBron James' legacy that he is no longer an individual superstar?

It’s hard to tell what is in store for Lebron James as he tries to change his sense of direction for greatness. He may have a plan to make himself known as a champion team player rather than leaving a legacy of individual greatness like Michael Jordan. In some respects, it seems like Lebron gave up on the Cleveland Cavaliers and instead took a shortcut to becoming a champion by joining Dwyane Wade and the Miami Heat.

I am not taking anything away from James, because he is a great athlete with unbelievable skill and talent. I just think that leaving a legacy is more impressive than just being a champion with no sense of leadership. James was a great player for the Cavaliers, but he was just learning to show the type of leadership that you now see from Kobe Bryant for the Los Angeles Lakers.

Read the rest of this entry →

LeBron James Joins The Heat: The Day The Music Died 8

Posted on July 10, 2010 by Ryan Durling

Bosh, Wade and James made their first official appearance as members of the Heat on Friday night.

Three times last night, I tried to start writing my recap of ESPN’s newest 30 for 30 Special: The Day Basketball Died. I couldn’t really decide which angle to take. Like when you just get out of a bad break-up and you think you’re still in love, only you soon realize how quickly love turns to hate and then you summarily stop caring at all. I’ve reached phase three. I don’t care about LeBron. His decision doesn’t affect me in any way. He is a basketball player, and basketball is what he does.  Nobody complains when the CEO of Wal-Mart decides to go work for Target because there is more money and more opportunity for growth of the brand there. It’s a pretty similar situation with LeBron.

I’ll say this regarding LBJ’s competitive spirit: he doesn’t have any. It’s all been said before, so I’ll just summarize: LeBron, if he’s the best in the game, should want to beat his competition, not cozy up alongside it. He hasn’t thrived with an average supporting cast, and now he’s signed on to not have any. The Heat will roll a team that runs 4-deep and then drops off. If Pat Riley had watched the Red Sox lineup over the past couple weeks (3-6 legit, 1-2, 7-9), he might have chosen a different option. LeBron, Bosh and Wade will be expected to play between 40 and 44 minutes a night over a 6-month season. While they may find success initially, by the time their contracts are up they’ll likely be in worse shape than today Celtics. Read the rest of this entry →

Miami’s Big Three won’t mesh like 80s Lakers, Celtics 2

Posted on July 10, 2010 by Matt Petersen
U.S. player LeBron James (R) congratulates Dwyane Wade during their game against Puerto Rico in the first round of the world basketball championships in Sapporo in this August 19, 2006 file photo. James said Thursday he is leaving the Cleveland Cavaliers to join forces with fellow All-Stars Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh at the Miami Heat next season in the hope of winning an elusive NBA championship.   REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson   (JAPAN - Tags: SPORT BASKETBALL)

Will Dwyane Wade and LeBron James be able to co-exist in Miami?

LeBron. Wade. Bosh. Three superstars, one basketball.

Can they make it work? That’s one question (out of dozens) facing the newly minted super-troika in Miami. Supporters scoff at the question itself, pointing to the Lakers and Celtics of the 80s and their respective Hall of Fame trios.

Too bad there’s no similarity other than the idea of a star-studded threesome leading a team to the promised land. You can’t compare store-bought with home-grown. You can only point out how painfully different they are.

The Showtime Lakers featured Magic Johnson, James Worthy and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in the mid-eighties. Their counterpart Celtics boasted Larry Bird, Kevin McHale and Robert Parish. While the names and games are impressive in and of themselves, their origins are important to remember. Abdul-Jabbar was the only player of the six to not be drafted by his respective team of the 80s. The others were selected at different points, integrated into the system gradually one piece at a time.

If you’re not old enough to remember, you need to know something else – as teammates, those players complemented each other perfectly. Kareem posted in the half-court, Worthy flew in the fast break, and Magic directed the whole operation. McHale, Bird and Parish were all capable of and willing to move without the ball in their hands. Whether it was McHale in the post or Bird from the perimeter, the ball would always find the open man.

Put all that up against what Miami’s done. Sure, the talent is there, but it hasn’t been gradually honed or developed for optimum chemistry and cohesion. The whole operation has been slapped together with a combination of mercenary mentality and budget-straining spending. There’s little wriggle room for role-playing types like Dennis Johnson, Danny Ainge, Kurt Rambis, Michael Cooper and Byron Scott  that rounded out those 80s teams so well. It will stay that way while all three are earning near-max money. Read the rest of this entry →

NBA Free Agency: The Clock Strikes Midnight 1

Posted on July 01, 2010 by Jonathan Stallsmith

LeBron James is the prize of a high-stakes free agent class.

“Bong!  Bong!  Bong!”  It sounds like the start of AC/DC’s “Hell’s Bells,” and, last night, when the clock struck midnight, all hell broke loose.

Aside from the traditional Celtic playoff run, I don’t follow the NBA too closely.  (Although I did follow it closely enough to win two [of two] Fantasy Basketball leagues this year).  However, this offseason could be one of the most tumultuous we’ve ever experienced, so it’s time for me (and you) to clue in!

On July 1st (at midnight tonight), the bell will toll on the NBA’s free agency, and, this season, the bell tolls for several marquee free agents.

While the NBA tends to offer mega-contracts for mega-stars, there is talk that this year could be a re-shaping of values for some of the league’s highest profile players.

For about a year and a half, the NBA’s biggest rumors have circled around the league’s best player: LeBron James.  LeBron has spent his entire career with his local-in-Ohio Cleveland Cavaliers, and, at the age of 25, is entering his first go at the free agent market.  ESPN breaks down the pending free agency period, and, to put it simply, LeBron could command the maximum player contract. Read the rest of this entry →

  • Vintage Athlete of the Month

    • Rusty Staub: A Man For All Ages
      April 8, 2024 | 1:26 pm
      Rusty Staub

      The Sports Then and Now Vintage Athlete of the Month is a former major league baseball player who came into the game as a teenager and stayed until he was in his 40s. In between, Rusty Staub put up a solid career that was primarily spent on expansion or rebuilding teams.

      Originally signed by the Colt .45s at age 17, he made his major league debut as a 19-year old rookie and became only the second player in the modern era to play in more than 150 games as a teenager.

      Though he hit only .224 splitting time between first base and rightfield, Staub did start building a foundation that would turn him into an All-Star by 1967 when he finished fifth in the league with a .333 batting average.

      Read more »

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