I don't blog a lot about basketball. I don't know a great deal about the sport or its players and I really only glance at the headlines as they go past. But I couldn't help sit up and take interest in the recent free agent affair that resulted in both LeBron James and Chris Bosh joining Dwayne Wade in Miami.
My first instinct after hearing about deal is to express loudly and repeatedly how much I now hate the Miami Heat. I just can't stand that whole "let's buy a trophy" mentality. It makes me want them to lose and lose badly and lose a lot. It makes me want the three mega-stars to fall all over each other, to argue, to do more harm than good.
But the more I thought about it, the more I realized that the real story is how potentially bad this news is for the NBA overall. Great stories in the NBA have come from great team rivalries based around great players. Think about Michael Jordan and Isaiah Thomas. Larry Bird and Magic Johnson or Kareem Abdul Jabbar. And the current and growing rivalry between Kobe Bryant and Kevin Garnett. These rivalries are the stuff of legends, the stuff of mega-drama, the stuff that draws in people like me, who wouldn't otherwise spend a lot of time caring about basketball. Great rivalries are what make sports themselves great.
By stuffing these three stars into the Heat lineup, the NBA has lost the potential for at least one great rivalry. Wade and James could have been a rivalry of the same ilk as those above. But instead, we'll see them on the same team, helping rather than challenging each other and probably, winning without a whole lot of challenge from most teams. How boring.