With the New York Knicks and Jeremy Lin set to square off against LeBron James and the Miami Heat tonight let’s take a look at what could have been, what is, and the future for the NBA.
LeBron James chose to take his talents to South Beach. He took less money to play with his buddy and fellow superstar, Dwayne Wade. This proved that all LeBron wants to do is win championships.
How can a guy that took less money to win a title be so vilified?
First, he made a TV show about his “Decision.”
Second, him, Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh held a party/concert at the American Airlines Arena where the Heat play their home games. During this charade they claimed they would win
not one, not two, not three, not four, not five, not six but 7 NBA championships.
Had he simply held a press conference with Miami Heat head coach Eric Spoelstra and team president Pat Riley, in which he announced he would play for the Heat, put on a Heat jersey, and posed for a few pictures, he would have been claimed the most unselfish superstar for taking less money and his desire to win would be admired dearly.
Some out there are shocked that LeBron didn’t sign with the New York
Knicks. Clearly, Madison Square Garden is a special place to play. LeBron played multiple games in the Garden for seven straight years; you would think he would have noticed that there is a different energy in the building. Look at what Jeremy Lin is doing for the city. Forget the Asian/undrafted/cut/Harvard aspect. He is delivering winning basketball to arguably the best basketball city in the country that hasn’t won anything since 1973, their last NBA title. New York is giddy with excitement like little school girls, and for good reason. If LeBron would have signed with the Kincks and delivered multiple NBA titles he would have been a God in New York. Move over Derek Jeter and Jay-Z. Signing with the New York Knicks, a franchise that has been a mess since Patrick Ewing retired, a city starving for a title, and delivering a title, would have been the biggest basketball challenge in the league today, maybe ever.
But instead of LeBron James and the New York Knicks heading to Miami to face off against Dwayne Wade, we have Jeremy Lin and the Knicks trying to take down LeBron James and the Heat. This is the most anticipated match up of the season so far. Miami has won seven straight by 12 points or more. The Knicks have won 9 of 11. There is talk of LeBron guarding Lin, taking away his versatility in the paint. But, doing so would free Carmelo Anthony, one of the best pure scorers in the league.
Forget the outcome, this game is over hyped. The Knicks have new weapons. They signed J.R. Smith last week, and Carmelo is back from a groin injury that forced him to miss seven games. The Knicks are far from the team they could be by the end of the regular season. Lin, Smith, Anthony, Amare Staudemire and Tyson Chandler is quite a force. Granted, chemistry isn’t developed overnight.
Recently, Charles Barkley criticized the league for its poor performance. Shooting percentages are down, turnovers are up and injuries are mounting. There is no doubt the condensed schedule is severely affecting the quality of play. That being said, the progression of Derrick Rose and the Chicago Bulls, the sudden rise of Jeremy Lin’s Knicks, and the ‘Big 3’ stardom in South Beach makes the East scary.
Jeremy Lin may have single handedly save the NBA season with his emergence this year. Every league needs a hero and a villain. Right now that hero is Jeremy Lin and the villain is LeBron James. Maybe LeBron made the right decision after all.