I’m an NBA fan and a comic book nerd. It’s rare that the two worlds intersect (outside of Shaquille O’Neal’s Superman fetish). Recent news in both comics and basketball created an intersection that I think could be helpful to the NBA’s biggest star, LeBron James.
James took his talents to South Beach last summer to join forces with Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh of the Miami Heat. The team-up immediately created a juggernaut of premiere talent with its sights on the NBA title. Basketball pundits questioned the likelihood of a Frankenstein-like construct capturing the championship without spending a season or two acclimating itself to all of its new components, but at the heart of those doubts was a fear that the Heat could win it all right away. Like a mutant superhero, adding LeBron’s power to Wade’s athletic grace and Bosh’s height had created an immediate contender. The whispers of a championship were immediate.
The team-up also made the Miami Heat the most vilified and loathed team in basketball. James and his friends were accused of taking shortcuts, plotting conspiracies and demonstrating premature arrogance. Fans looked at the Miami Heat as conceited bullies with no respect for the other teams or for the game itself. LeBron James spent the season as the focal point for this stream of criticism. When the Heat made it all the way to the NBA Finals and then subsequently lost to the Dallas Mavericks, the blame hung on LeBron James.