Superstars run the National Basketball Association. Always have, always will.
However, the way they run the league has changed drastically.
Back in the 80s and 90s, star players set the bar for where other stars wanted to play. Superstars wanted to go onto another superstar's home court and beat them in front of their home crowd. Now, star players attract others to their home floor, but in a very different way. Instead of creating fierce and memorable rivalries, superstars now look to join forces and form super teams.
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Oh how we were wrong.
Wade re-signed with Miami, reiterating that the Heat were in fact his team. And then there were two. Bosh was expected to be a virtual sidekick on a team that already had an established star. So the spotlight was on King James. He could have stayed in Cleveland, joined the Clippers, or joined the Knicks -- with the newly acquired Stoudemire. Instead, he teamed with Wade in Miami. They then added Bosh, and a new league-wide trend was officially underway.
LeBron was not the only player to start a trend though.
Right after the LeBron saga, the Carmelo Anthony drama began. Refusing to lose their star without some form of compensation, the Nuggets decided to shop Melo around. However, instead of the Nuggets picking where Melo went, he dictated where he was going. With the Knicks being tops on his list, he scared off team after team by vowing not to re-sign with them. When all was said and done, Melo's wish was finally granted, and he got to play his home games at Madison Square Garden.
Now here we are, Summer, 2012 -- and the new-look NBA. Instead of wanting to battle the best for the crown, stars are joining the best to try to win it.
Michael Jordan would have never joined Magic or Bird to win a title. But times have changed. Wade, LeBron, and Bosh got their wish to play together, and they won a championship. It was rumored that Melo, Amar'e and Chris Paul would try to join forces to chase a ring. The Brooklyn Nets almost had a super trio of Deron Williams, Joe Johnson, and Dwight Howard -- and the Lakers are pursuing the chance to have the trio of Kobe, Howard, and Steve Nash.
But what happened to the days when players were drafted and did everything they could to take that team to the promise land? Who's to blame? General Managers for not drafting talent to go around the stars or acquiring role players to help? Or is it players growing impatient with waiting for their team to come around?
With all indications being that Dwight Howard will land with another superstar, whether it's in Brooklyn or LA, that leaves the question of who's next? Chris Paul is the next big superstar with an expiring contract. There were rumors about him joining Melo and Amar'e. Or, will he re-sign with the Clippers and try to build a super trio with Blake Griffin?
Welcome to the NBA in 2012. Where to be the best, you don't have to beat the best. You have to join them.