Don’t let what happened last summer in South Beach or what could potentially occur in Los Angeles or New York fool you. “Super teams” are nothing new in a league that has predicated itself on the selling value of its superstars for decades. Just looking at teams since the year 2000, here’s how the major squads (with three perennial All Stars) have assembled.
— 2007-2008 Boston Celtics (Pierce, Garnett & Allen) – All bonded together through years of scratching and clawing with disappointment after disappointment. And poor Paul Pierce was subjected to deal with Antoine Walker’s god-awful shimmy for six years which probably felt more like 30 if you happen to be a Celtics fan.
Result: They won the title in year one together. Garnett being injured hampered their chances in the second. A freak Kendrick Perkins knee injury in Game 6 of the 2010 Finals and second half abandonment of post play in Game 7 killed their chances at that second ring. A then peaking Miami squad and horrific looking Rajon Rondo elbow injury bulldozed them out in their fourth year. And here we are in Year 5 (the “all or nothing” season) of the “Boston Three Party” and possibly their last tangible shot at elusive ring #2. You can’t write a better script than this one.
— 2010-2011 Miami Heat (James, Wade & Bosh) – The faction which turned the sports world on its head, created an unprecedented amount of interest and vitriol throughout the regular season/playoffs and, depending on who’s asked, one of the main reasons there was a lockout in the first place. If anybody is the nWo of pro sports, it’s these three.
Result: We all know what happened. The Mavericks beat the Heat, partied in Miami with the trophy (one of the more iconic “f*ck you” moments in sports history) and DeShawn Stevenson had arguably the greatest 48 hour span of the entire summer.
That being said, those two are it as far as trios go with the exception of one. Everyone remembers the failed experiment that was Tracy McGrady and Grant Hill in Orlando, but how many people recall Tim Duncan nearly took his “watching paint dry” entertaining game to Orlando as well?
A young Tim Duncan was coming off a championship a year earlier and only beginning to tap into the potential that’ll probably have him go down as the greatest pure power forward to ever play the game. Then, there’s the still baby-faced T-Mac who was stepping outside of Vince Carter’s shadow in Toronto to return home while becoming one of the more potent offensive threats in the NBA. Lastly, there’s Grant Hill. I’m a believer that to this day if Hill never injures his foot in that 2000 first round series versus the Heat, we’re looking at a totally different career trajectory.
That same ankle would only allow him to suit up for 47 games over the next three seasons.