By Gary Norris Gray, BASN Staff Reporter
OAKLAND (BASN) — The 2016-17 signing of Kevin Durant by the Golden State Warriors is one part of a long list of historical transactions that have led to an NBA championship.
One of the last big transitions came when All-Stars LeBron James and Chris Bosh signed as free agents with the Miami Heat and led them to multiple championships. This has been happening since 1960.
LEBRON JAMES vs. DAN GILBERT
In 2009-10, James had already played for the Cleveland Cavaliers for seven years, carrying this underachieving team to the playoffs, losing three times in the conference finals and then losing in the championship round. Sports fans outside of Cleveland could not name the starting five other than James. Owner Dan Gilbert tried to win a championship on the cheap, it did not work.
One year, Gilbert signed as a free agent, an older, slower, and bigger Shaquille O’Neal at the end of his career. Even after that, James could see the writing on the wall after that Eastern Conference Finals loss to the Boston Celtics. It was time to move away from his home state of Ohio.
After the O’Neal experiment, the Cavaliers landed in last place for three years straight when James left for Miami. Gilbert had to eat his words stating that Cleveland would win the NBA title before LeBron.
In the great Canadian North, Chris Bosh played for the Toronto Raptors seven years and was their leading scorer. Bosh, a natural center, played out of his natural position for two years because of injuries to other Raptor players. Toronto found it difficult to get to the playoffs which they finally achieved with Bosh. The Raptors went through their third overhaul in the 2008-09 season with multiple trades. Confusion reigned on the floor in Canada for the whole season and Bosh eventually for South Beach and the Miami Heat.
Dwayne Wade one of the last remaining players from the Miami Heat’s championship team of 2006. He needed a dynamic scorer by his side to help return Miami to a championship level.
The Heat won their first Championship in 2005-06 with free agents and “The Big Diesel,” Shaquille O’Neal. This championship proved all the more poignant for veteran superstar Alonzo “Zo” Mourning, who returned to Miami in 2005.
Joining Zo in Miami were Gary Payton, Jason Williams, Antoine Walker. This group had never won an NBA championship except for O’Neal. Many fans did not like this team and so-called experts stated that they could never play together. This new SUPER TEAM defied the odds and won.
In 2009 the Heat lacked the knockout punch needed to be Champions but all of that changed when James and Bosh put on Heat uniforms in 2010 and repeated the 2005 Miami championship achievements.
James, Wade, and Bosh broke the mold and that is why most fans, owners, and coaches are upset. The owners, the league, and the agents had nothing to do with this SUPER TEAM. Black men taking control of their basketball destinies, this had to end quickly. The masters (owners) had to retake the reigns of the league.
The hour-long ESPN “Decision Show” did not help. The Big Three introduction show on stage, the four, five, six, seven championship claim in Miami did not help either. They created a super team via free agency on their own, and this upset the basketball apple cart. Events were not going according to general managers and owners plans and the inmates had taken control of the asylum. The players were running the show and that spelled danger to the rest of the league. Bosh, James, and Wade started costing agents and owners money and that could not be.
NOTE: It would have never happened if the Raptors and Heat organizations did not agree to the terms. Miami and Toronto could have vetoed the move at any time, they never said a word.
This has been done many times before without fanfare or hoopla. This time the BIG THREE formed their own deal. They created a basketball superpower via free agency.
The Golden State Warriors would follow the Miami Heat mode, pushing the envelope in 2016-17 with the Kevin Durant signing. The Dubs then had a legitimate big three with Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, and Kevin Durant.
Here are the players that have been traded and won a championship
Center Wilt Chamberlain was traded from the Philadelphia 76ers to the Los Angeles Lakers in 1968. The Big Dipper guided the Purple and Gold to a 33-game winning streak and a championship on one of the best teams ever.
Guard Oscar Robertson was traded from the Cincinnati Royals to the Milwaukee Bucks in 1970-71. Milwaukee won the championship a year later with Robertson, Bobby Dandridge, and Lew Alcindor (Kareem Abdul-Jabbar). The Bucks won 60 games in the 1971-72 season and subsequently played in three Finals series.
Guard Earl “The Pearl” Monroe was traded from the Baltimore Bullets to the New York Knicks in 1973. Many basketball historians thought superstars Walt Frazier and Earl Monroe could not co-exist in the same backcourt. But for five years they did and made one of the highest scoring backcourts in modern basketball history.
Center Robert Parish went from the Golden State Warriors to the Boston Celtics in 1980. “The Chief,” the quiet leader completed the roster for the green and white as a monster defender in the middle. The Big Three here was Parish, Larry Bird, and Kevin McHale. The Chief guided them to many more runs at the NBA title in the 1980s.
Center Kareem Abdul-Jabbar went from the Milwaukee Bucks to the Los Angeles Lakers in 1975. The Lakers needed a big man in the middle and number 33 was the answer. This trade rekindled the Celtics-Lakers rivalry throughout the 1980’s with Showtime and Rookie Earvin Magic Johnson. James Worthy, Jabbar, and Johnson were the purple and gold’s big three.
Center Moses Malone went from the Houston Rockets to the Philadelphia Sixers in 1982 with the famous slogan “foe, foe, foe,” meaning four games to victory in each series with four wins. The Sixers missed the last foe by one, losing a game to the Milwaukee Bucks, before sweeping the Lakers.
Forward “Dr. J,” Julius Erving, finally received his first championship with Philadelphia. The Sixers big three were Erving, Maurice Cheeks, and Moses Malone. This was one of the greatest Philadelphia teams in history that finally received the trophy after losing to the Bill Walton’s Portland Trailblazers in 1977-78.
Julius Erving proclaimed to Sixers fans, “We owe you one,” but then The Sixers lost to the Lakers and a young man named Magic Johnson. That would all change in 1981-82 season with Malone.
Forward Dennis Rodman went from San Antonio Spurs to the Chicago Bulls in 1995. The Bulls accomplished their second three-peat Championship with the rebounding machine called ‘the Worm’ because he could slither his body in-between defenders and grab rebounds under the basket.
Center Shaquille O’Neal made transitions. He did it twice, from the Orlando Magic to the Los Angeles Lakers 1994 and then from Lakers to the Miami Heat in 2004. The Big Man was a part of the first 3-peat West Coast style in Hollywood.
Forward-Guard Robert Horry could be called the luckiest man in the basketball world. He played for the Houston Rockets in 1992-1996, winning back-to-back championships. Then he was traded to the Phoenix Suns in 1996 but could not get along with head coach Danny Ainge.
Horry would get lucky and move on to the high-flying Showtime Los Angeles Lakers where he began to acquire the reputation of being Mr. Clutch, hitting key shots for Laker victories and two more championships. He would be traded one more time in 2003 to the San Antonio Spurs. The Spurs cut his playing time in half and it seemed to rejuvenate Horry as the Spurs won two Championships. Horry had earned a total of seven titles from four teams.
At the beginning of this century, Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett went to the Boston Celtics from the Seattle Supersonics and the Minnesota Timberwolves respectively in the 2007-08 season creating the first “Three Amigos” (Another Super Team) with Boston center Paul Pierce. The Celtics won the Championship one year later. Nobody complained because the owners made this deal with the blessings of all three organizations.
The last NBA major shift was star center-forward Kevin Durant moving from Oklahoma City to Golden State and a championship in the same year. This is the new and present Super Team, West Coast Style.
THE MEDIA AND PLAYERS WHO CAN’T WIN THE TITLE
Now the media will turn its collective focus on other prominent Black stars who have never won the championship and ask why not? Why not, New York Knick-Carmelo Anthony, Charlotte Hornets-Dwight Howard-, Houston Rocket-Chris Paul, or New York Knick- Derrick Rose cannot raise the O’Brien Trophy?
Meanwhile the sports media horde did not have the same questions for non-Black veterans like Steve Nash of the Phoenix Suns, and will not question Ricky Rubio of the Minnesota Timberwolves, Marc Gasol of the Memphis Grizzlies, Arvydas Sabonis of the Portland Trail Blazers, or Southern Illinois University Saluki killer Kyle Korver of the Cleveland Cavaliers. Why not?
Since LeBron James has exorcised his demons and won the NBA championship in Miami and Cleveland the players listed above are the new Black targets for the sports media.
Blockbuster transactions have been made over and over again as history reveals and will continue beyond 2017. There will always be a Super Team, a Big Three, a champion.
Gary Norris Gray – Writer, Author, Historian, Gibbs Magazine-Oakland, California and New England Informer- Boston, Mass. THE GRAYLINE: – The Analects of A Black Disabled Man, The Gray Leopard Cove, Soul Tree Radio In The Raw, and The Batchelor Pad Network, Disabled Community Activist. Email at firstname.lastname@example.org
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