July 8, 2010. 9PM Eastern. The Decision.
We all remember where we were when LeBron James so famously informed the world that he would be taking his talents to South Beach. To most, these words made LeBron a villain, a coward, and a traitor. But while the rest of the country was busy crucifying James for betraying his hometown, I was curious what the implications would be on the basketball court.
There was no shortage of theories. Jeff van Gundy insisted that this team would not lose twice in a row all season, and he predicted they would beat the regular season record of 72 wins. Others doubted the Heat, concerned that the egos of Chris Bosh, Dwyane Wade, and LeBron James would prevent the team from jelling. How will the team survive with two incredibly ball-dominant scorers in the same backcourt? Who would take the last shot? How will they win with no frontcourt depth? Before the Heat had even played a game together Miami’s Big Three were the hottest discussion in sports.
For me though, the Miami Heat were an opportunity. At age 19 currently, I was too young to fully appreciate the great NBA teams of the recent past. I never got to see the great Showtime Lakers or Bird’s Celtics. I was only seven when Jordan sunk what we thought was his final shot to beat the Jazz and complete the Bulls’ second three-peat. I remember the Lakers’ dynasty at the beginning of the 2000s, but was not old enough to really appreciate it from a basketball standpoint. But with LeBron’s decision, I had hope that I would finally be able to witness a truly great team that I could appreciate for their ability. It was as if LeBron was speaking directly to me when he made his projections for the Heat’s future upon his arrival in Miami. The Heat have shown flashes of greatness this season, but they will need to demonstrate greater urgency than they did in Sunday’s Game 4 if they want to both make their vision and my basketball fantasy come true.