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How Cleveland Is A Lot Like

Miami For LeBron James

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Image by Keith Allison and used under a Creative Commons License.
For All Of His Individual Greatness, James Has Learned — Likely Thanks To His First Run In Cleveland — That He Not Only Needs Help But At Least A Couple Of Superstars To Win A NBA Title


By Wayne Schutsky
Modern Times Magazine

Aug. 12, 2014 — Now that the Cleveland Cavaliers have agreed to trade first round pick Andrew Wiggins to Minnesota for Kevin Love, the detractors have more motivation to come out and say LeBron James can’t win a championship on his own.

Just like in Miami, he’s loading talent around him to win it all.

It’s true. Love is one of the best power forwards in the league and ever since LeBron came back, Cleveland has made a strong push to bring him in.

But, what’s wrong with that? When did it become a bad thing for a number-one player to have a reliable number-two to count on? I was only in elementary school at the time, but I don’t remember anyone criticizing Michael Jordan for playing with Scottie Pippen, who was a top-five player in the league for most of his tenure with the Bulls.

Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O'Neal only began to draw criticism when they couldn’t play together.

The thing is, dynasties are built on more than one great player. Sure, they’ve all got one superstar that gets all of the press. But, the truth is every NBA dynasty has more than one player who could qualify as one of the top-10 players in the league.

The Boston Celtics of the 1960s had Bill Russell, Bob Cousy, Tom Heinsohn, Sam Jones and Frank Ramsey. The Showtime Lakers had Magic Johnson and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar: and some guys named Worthy, Cooper, Rambis and others. The late 1980s to 1990s Pistons had Isiah Thomas, Bill Laimbeer and Joe Dumars. And, the Spurs from 2004 through the present have been led by Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili.

The current Spurs roster is the closest thing to a deviation from this rule because it’s big three is at the end of its collective career. However, the veterans are still near the top of the league and far exceed the top three talent many other NBA starting lineups offer. Plus, they have the best coach in the NBA and play for the most well-run team in the league, so they’re surrounded by talent.

That aberration aside, the majority of dynasties in NBA history have been built by combining several of the sports major stars in one city. The trend only seems unique now because the explosion in salaries make them much more noticeable.

Back in the day, it was considered bonkers when the Lakers signed Magic to a 25-year, $25-million deal. Now, LeBron James will almost make that in one season.

So, the next time you rag on LeBron for his inability to win the big one on his own, you should remember that neither could Jordan, Russell, Kobe, or Shaq.

Wayne Schutsky is a senior contributor to Modern Times Magazine.
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