The Miami Heat are used as the whipping post of studio and in-game analysts on TNT and ESPN. Especially, Charles Barkley and Shaquille O’Neal who really should be in a balcony-like setup from the main studio table at TNT to tell jokes as comic relief from more focused NBA commentary (similar to the Muppet Show old guys). Barkley and O’Neal contend, as do many others, that Lebron James carries the Miami Heat and the rest of the team doesn’t contribute a thing to their success. That the NBA is an old video game where Lebron (a 99 rating), dominates the ball and wins all the games. This is an enormous oversimplification because following this reasoning then, the Cleveland Cavaliers would have won back to back titles and Lebron would have never left. All things being equal, Barkley and O’Neal contend that Lebron has had the same supporting cast in Cleveland as in Miami. Nothing could be further from the truth as Lebron has not won two championships by himself. He has what he’s always wanted: A great coaching staff, a great front office and a complementary team that features him.
To reason that a superstar would be the only reason that a team wins would mean that Carmelo would have reached the Eastern Finals each year in New York, the Laker superteam last year with Dwight, Kobe and Nash would have gone to the West Finals and the Spurs would have never won four Championships because Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu aren’t big superstars (Oh, and Barkley himself would’ve won a title in Houston with Olajuwon and Drexler). While Lebron James is an enormous part of the Heat’s success, he isn’t the only reason they have so much success. If Lebron was to be taken out of the Heat organization and placed on another team, it is hard to reason he would be as successful as he has been with Miami. In-game analysts and studio analysts need to stop angling their commentary solely for ratings–TNT and ESPN have surrendered to the fact that the basketball personality himself is enough for people to tune in and comedy is why people watch the pre-game show when real fans watch for the basketball and want to hear cogent, quality basketball knowledge. Not info they could hear at a local bar.