Lots of folks are giving grief to LeBron James, Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade for making free agent moves to team up in Miami. The suggestions have primarily included the notion that winning with lots of talent is somehow illegitimate and the championships that the SuperFriends might win together for the Miami Heat would be tarnished.
What?!? Winning is the bottom line in sports. Kobe Bryant and Tiger Woods were recently ranked as America’s favorite athletes. Why? Because they are viewed as champions and this country loves a winner more than anything else. Between Eagle, Colorado and Thanksgiving at the fire hydrant, Kobe and Tiger could have been sports pariahs but instead they’re our favorite athletes. Success leads to popularity when it comes to sports. As much as the SuperFriends are being beaten up now, I feel confident that if they win 2 of the next 3 NBA titles, all 3 of those guys will be among the top jersey sellers and commercial endorsers in the entire league.
From a basketball standpoint, I love these moves. All 3 of these guys were the dominant stars on their teams and that’s a rare and enviable position. To willingly forego that status along with the money and control that accompany it is impressive. For young men in their 20s to choose a communal path to success over an individualistic one, especially in the hypermasculine world of professional sports, is refreshing and should be applauded. I hope this shared vision will help create a new paradigm in sports, one that’s less about the Alpha Dog and more about the winning team.