Basketball is a team sport, and while one star player can affect the outcome of individual games, throughout a season it takes more than that. The Miami Heat’s ‘Big Three,’ namely LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh, helped to revolutionize how franchises put together their rosters. Thanks to their success, the Heat’s Big Three helped cement their legacy in the history books.
LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh were all part of the same NBA draft in 2003, and they were all selected in the first five overall picks. It didn’t take them long to establish themselves as incredible talents. All three players were the scoring leaders for their respective teams throughout their first seven seasons.
A lot was expected of these three players, and in 2010 they all ended up going to the same franchise, the Miami Heat. Wade was re-signed by Miami following the ‘09-10 season, while Bosh and James were acquired through free agency. It was James’ signing, however, that would gather the most interest.
James announced his trade to the Heat via a TV special, ‘The Decision,’ which was seen by fans as the player announcing his villain status. The method in which James chose to announce his leaving of the Cavaliers upset many fans, and it’s something that LeBron admits was poorly handled.
Nevertheless, Miami had all of a sudden become a force to be reckoned with overnight. People thought they were going to dominate the league as nobody had done before, and the all-time regular season record of 72 victories was in danger.
Things on the court didn’t go exactly to plan and while they were still dominant during the regular season, the Heat were definitely not unbeatable. Miami made it all the way to the NBA Finals in the first year of the Big Three, and it would become a regular occurrence. In fact, for the four seasons that the Big Three remained together in Miami, the Heat made it to the Finals every year.
Their first season ended in disappointment, however, as the Heat went down to the Dallas Mavericks. Criticism was thrown at James in particular as his scoring level dropped dramatically in the final series versus his regular season average.
Getting it right
Miami and the Big Three had to learn quickly following their Finals disappointment or face becoming one of the most expensive mistakes in basketball history. LeBron went away during the offseason and reminded himself to start enjoying basketball once more.
The Heat figured out a way to win together during the offseason and started the 2011-12 season as though they meant business. In 2012 the Heat came up against the Oklahoma City Thunder in the Finals, and the Big Three helped Miami to a routine win for the championship. James was named the league MVP for the second season in a row, as well as the Finals MVP two years running.
Difficult to beat
The Heat proved difficult to beat, and in the 2012-13 season went 27 games unbeaten, the second-longest streak in NBA history. They once again stormed to another championship, this time against the Spurs. It was vindication for the Big Three and a sign that they had worked effectively as a team.
The following season the Heat once again made the Finals, this time losing out to the Spurs and signaling the end of the Big Three era.