LeBron to form Olympic Team South?

According to ESPN’s Chris Broussard, for the moment its a done deal that LeBron James will join Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh in Miami and will form a sort of younger, stronger version of the Celtics “Big Three”.

If this is indeed the move, it shows that LeBron is a student of basketball history.  Even though fans expect superstar basketball players to deliver championships — and penalize their legacy if they do not — the fact of the matter is no non-center has ever won an NBA championship, or rather a string of championships (Rick Barry won one in 1975, but that was during the days of the diluted NBA-ABA schism), without at least two large contributors at his side. 

Michael Jordan at full power was winning nothing — zilch — until the Bulls added Scottie Pippen and then Horace Grant along with some other productive role players.  Then when they substituted the even more productive Dennis Rodman for Horace Grant, they shot to the stratosphere (its telling that in the interim, even with Jordan, they got only to the Eastern Finals).

Centers used to be able to win with one other good player and then a cast of decent close-to-average players.  But even that formula only won Kareem one NBA championship during his prime seasons in the 1970s.  And that was with an Oscar Robertson who was just hanging on to something like his full powers of production. 

And without help, even the best centers don’t get much done.  Ask Wilt Chamberlain

But for non-centers, its the old Marvin Gaye song “It takes two baby”.  It appears that LeBron grasps this historical truism.  We shall see.

FOOTNOTE: Looking back at the Bucks 1971 win chart linked to above, I guess Bobby Dandridge performed an even bigger role on that team than Horace Grant did for the Bulls, and certainly “as big” a role in producing wins as Chris Bosh would be expected to produce in Miami.  So perhaps even Kareem needed two others (actually Dandridge may have served as overkill — the Bucks lost only one game in the playoffs that season).


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