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Super Teams: Good or Bad for the NBA?

Looking back at Super Teams in the NBA

I recently just finishing watching The Last Dance on Netflix, about Jordan and how the Bulls were able to win six titles. I was born in 1988, so I was a 90s kid and just like the documentary said everyone knew about Michael Jordan. I was kid during his glory days so I didn’t follow his career and the NBA until I got a lot older, so I wanted to check out the documentary to learn about things I didn’t know about Michael Jordan and the, nba players association, nba black lives matter, dwight howard, kyrie irving, nba orlando

While I was watching the documentary, I kept thing about how things are so different from the game as we know it today. It was really odd seeing teams playing in such low scoring games. Nowadays games easily finish with the score around 110-120 but back then, for a team to score that much someone had to have dropped 80 points a game and even then it went into at least one overtime.

Then as I am listening to the former Bulls players talk about how the Pistons were tough and it was a mission for them to beat them, so Jordan bulked up a bit so he could be just as physical as they were. That’s when I really started to see why Jordan and Kobe were such great players. They took losing personally and when they did they worked out a way to come back and win no matter what.

The Bulls weren’t always a great team when Jordan was there. When he first got to the Bulls they were a joke of an organization, but the Bulls were able to find other good players to put around Michael Jordan in order to improve the team. Tony Kukoc and Scottie Pippen were two players that the Bulls Acquired through the draft that ended up complimenting Jordan very well. I would even go so far as to say that without Jordan, Kukoc and Pippen would have never reach their full potential.

At this point of the documentary, I am more than half way through and one thing is stuck in my mind and it’s that despite the losing seasons Michael Jordan was dedicated to make himself better which would in turn make his team better. He wasn’t willing the throw in the towel, fly down to Miami, and ride someone else’s coat tails to glory. No, he was willing to put in the work and effort to make himself, the team, and the organization better and that translated on the court.

Getting toward the end of the documentary is where I start remembering more of the thing games I was seeing because when the Bulls one their last title, I was 10. I remember watching the games and celebrating. It was an exciting time. I wasn’t even a Bulls a fan I just loved watching Michael Jordan go out and give his all to the game. It was amazing to watch.

When the documentary ended I was left feeling like I miss watching the NBA. I miss watching basketball. I was a Lakers fan until the sold out to the Lebron show. I know a lot of people will say that he’s the greatest and blah, blah, blah, but personally, I don’t see it that way.

He was the star in Cleveland and no one can say that he didn’t carry those teams to the playoffs when they went, but here’s why they could never get over the hump: Lebron couldn’t elevate the team. He could carry them but he couldn’t elevate them. He couldn’t push the players around him to dig deep enough and find the win.

There was a game in the finals after Lebron had gone back to Cleveland. They were playing Golden State and they were down in the series at that point and they were down in the game. It was the 4th quarter and Golden State sunk a basket and you could just tell that it took the life out of Lebron. That wasn’t the first time I saw that from him.

As soon as he was able to jump ship he left Cleveland to go to Miami which I told everyone he would do because Lebron doesn’t care about Championships, he cares about his legacy and as soon as he announced it that’s all I needed to hear. I knew that I would never consider him one of the greatest to ever do it because when things got tough in Cleveland he turned tail and ran to great franchise to ensure that he wouldn’t have to work that hard again to win a title.

He wins a few titles in Miami then he did exactly what I thought he would do which is go back to Cleveland. I knew he would go back to Cleveland because they went from sugar to (that bad word I can’t say that rhymes with hit) pretty much overnight but during that time they managed to pick up some decent players and start looking like they might be a good team with a few pieces.

Cue Lebron, he comes back then they bring in a few more high priced pieces to make a title run and they win a few. Then that series against Golden State I was telling you about happened and then I said to myself after that game, “He’s going to leave Cleveland. If they lose this series he is going to leave Cleveland.”

They lost the series and yet again he called it quits on franchise he supposedly loved so much that he had to come back and win a title for them. This to me again proves to me that he isn’t the greatest to do it. He’s really good at it and if you put a lot of really talented players around him he can win, but he can’t elevate the players around him to play on that same level like Michael Jordan or even Kobe Bryant for that matter.

You know why Dwight Howard didn’t like playing with Kobe when they did? Because Kobe knew Dwight was soft. Dwight knew Dwight was soft and he just couldn’t handle being around someone who wouldn’t accept anything less than your absolute best. Not saying Lebron doesn’t try, just saying that as far as I can tell if you don’t pair him with another super star talent he’s not winning titles.

Now I know some people will say that Scottie Pippen was a superstar and while Jordan leaving might not take away from his individual greatness, it does prove that Jordan being on the court made a huge a difference and it was more than just his ability to score points. It was that drive and that will to will at all costs that made Scottie Pippen and the rest of those guys great. It was the belief in a leader that would lay it all on the line for them that drove those teams to those 6 titles.

I know I pick on Lebron a lot but it’s mostly because he’s the headliner of most of these super teams. He’s a monster talent and no one can deny that, but I just don’t see him being the ruthless competitor that Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant were. I can’t say he’s the greatest to ever do it when most of why people think he’s great is a byproduct of these super teams.

These teams made up of two or more bought and paid for superstar athletes that tip the scales of competitiveness in favor of one of two teams. The last few years when people ask me about basketball I just tell them I don’t follow it as much because it’s just not as fun to watch anymore. For 3 or 4 years straight we literally started each basketball season talking about whether Golden State would win or whether Cleveland would win. Before that it Miami and whoever. Now it’s the Lakers and apparently Brooklyn.

I was a huge Lakers fan but when they sold out to get Lebron I was done. I got tired of him chasing rings with whoever would help make the path easiest for him to get them. I know that anything can happen during even given season, but if you track it from the start of this super team trend all the way up until now, you won’t find many finals games without Lebron and one of the many teams that bought his services to compete for a title.

There’s no surprises when you have these super teams. In the last 10 years of NBA finals, I haven’t been shocked once…alright, maybe there was an upset of some of the lower seeded teams but overall the finals turn out just about how you think every year because they teams and buying championships.

It changes the game so much when you stop having these homegrown exciting dynasties and you’re just watching the Lebron and KD show where everything seems scripted because no matter how good other teams are they can’t beat a team with 3 all-star starting players in their line-up. Guys who could spread out and make the game competitive again but instead would rather partner up and seemingly skip the competing part.

Personally these super teams have ruined the NBA for me. Yeah, I’ll catch a game here and there but mostly the NBA has gotten predictable and boring. We aren’t watching professional basketball any more; we are watching the Lebron James show featuring a few all-stars and the only thing that ever changes is what team has paid Lebron and/or whatever other superstars to band together and “compete” for a title.

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