The Miami Heat defeated the Indiana Pacers, 96-76, in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference finals Monday night and advanced to their third straight trip to the NBA Finals since LeBron James signed with the team back in 2010.
Three yeas ago, James, an unrestricted free agent who spent several seasons as one of the game's best players with the Cleveland Cavaliers (his almost hometown team), joined fellow free agent Chris Bosh and long-time Heat player, Dwyane Wade, in Miami in what was quickly dubbed "the big three" or "Dream Team."
A lot of fans did not take to the formidable trio and relished any Miami defeat. Hatred or not, the team was obviously successful during the 2010/2011 season, advancing to the NBA Finals before losing to the Dallas Mavericks.
The second season, however, saw the Heat win the NBA title. And now, with Monday night's accomplishment, nobody can really call James' decision a failure.
Let's be honest. If it wasn't for the "Decision" fiasco, nobody would have thought James was a bad person (except for Cavaliers fans).
Another criticism is that James needed Wade, and to a lesser extent, Bosh, in order to win a championship, and maybe that's true. However, most really good basketball teams over the years have had more than one superstar on the starting roster.
The Lakers dynasty of the 80's had Magic Johnson, Kareem Abdul Jabbar, and James Worthy (a total chance acquisition after the defending champions had the first pick in the '82 draft, thanks to a trade with the Cavliers a few years earlier). The Boston Celtics teams of that same decade had Larry Bird, Robert Parish and Kevin Mchale.
The Chicago Bulls of the 90's, winners of six NBA titles in eight seasons, may have had Michael Jordan (arguably the greatest player of all-time), but they also had Scottie Pippen (a top five player during his prime).
And, of course, the Lakers teams of the 00's that won multiple titles had Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O'Neal.
Why should James be expected to put an entire team of average players on his back and win a title when his predecessors didn't have to?
How James went about making his decision was obviously a little in poor taste, but no matter what happens against the Spurs in the Finals, it was obviously the right one.