A New Era
Miami’s impact will live on long past the Finals.
by Tracy Weissenberg
The NBA Finals are here, and with it, a re-contouring of the NBA landscape at large.
In my Finals prediction, I said that the most important lesson everyone—regardless of profession—can learn from the forming of the Heat is to never shy away from the opportunity to work with talented people. That is the exact circumstance that Dwyane Wade, LeBron James, Chris Bosh and the rest of the roster took advantage of. It should be celebrated not criticized.
For three players in the prime of their careers to knowingly enter a situation in which they would have to give up the ball at times, statistics at others, and the style they’ve grown accustomed to, shows an intense devotion to winning. When primary ball handlers LeBron James and Dwyane Wade concede fourth-quarter touches and game-winning shot attempts, it is going against everything they had done their entire careers. For two elite wings to forge the on-and-off-ball chemistry needed to create a level of comfort and flow in the offense is impressive, and to do it within one season is a testament to a great deal of work and adjustments.
Who takes the last shot on the Heat really is not a storyline—mostly because none of the star players have made it one. What I find fascinating is the collective melting pot of NBA veterans—and the stories, experiences, and letdowns that have driven them all to seek opportunity through an instant contender.
It is hardly mentioned that Udonis Haslem, the player on the Heat who brings all the intangibles, was offered a lucrative free-agent contract by Dallas, which he turned down to stay with the only NBA team he has ever played for. It could be a different series if Haslem was suiting up for the Mavs right now.
A good deal of credit needs to go to Chris Bosh—a recipient of intense scrutiny and criticism during the season. While Bosh must have felt positive press was few and far between, he always acted like an ultimate professional.
Additionally, for Bosh to go from one of the poorest defensive teams to one of the best is intriguing in itself, as the Heat’s focus on getting stops as much as shots took the full commitment of the entire roster.
While Miami was thought to instantly contend, hardly anyone handed them a trip to the Finals as most favored the depth and experience of Boston. While the Heat are playing for a title, and the chance to cement their legacy with hardware, they have forever changed the NBA’s landscape.
James received heavy criticism for joining a team that Dwyane Wade had already won a title with. Many thought he wouldn’t win another MVP or that he couldn’t be considered the best if he played with someone nearly as good. Maybe James is braver than everyone gave him credit for. Maybe he knew that the better the talent he surrounded himself with, the more he could shine, understanding it is not about doing it by yourself, but putting yourself in the right situation.
I think that for all the criticism that has been spewed, the Heat have given everyone more reasons to root for them than not. Players in the prime of their careers took control of their destinies, and decided that whatever happened, they were in it together.
If you were given the chance to work with people who were the best in your business, would you pass it up?