In case you missed it last night, see the post below for my own bit of Stephen A. Smith triumphalism of "I told you so" from July 6...
Oh, sorry: That would be July 6, 2006.
Otherwise, today's SN column is dominated by what might have eclipsed the Saints winning the Super Bowl as the sports story of the year: LeBron to the Heat.
Let me sum up a lot of the strands of thought I've been pulling together over the last few weeks:
*I don't begrudge LeBron his choice at all -- except to the extent he mismanaged its execution with respect to Cleveland fans, who deserved better.
*I see this as the apex of LeBron's sense of exceptionalism: That "solo star winning title" has been done -- virtually every time. "Star in prime opts to join with other stars in prime" has NEVER been done. It feeds LeBron's sense of history.
*However, that history can only be fulfilled with titles. Plural. Probably more than two.
That's the burden of the expectations that LeBron has set up -- what I would argue are the highest expectations for a player in NBA history:
Not just winning a championship, but enough titles to be notable. That ain't two. That ain't even three. Any less than 4 (in 5 years, mind you!) is, in my opinion, falling short of expectations.
*I am not convinced -- at all -- that even one championship for the Heat is a gimme over the next five years:
Year 1: They won't beat the Lakers. No chance.
Years 2-4: Good luck getting past Dwight Howard.
(Sidebar: Consider for a moment that if the Heat can't beat the Magic in the playoffs, LeBron-Wade-Bosh might not even be the best team in the state, let alone the East, let alone the NBA.)
Year 5: Kevin Durant will be destroying the league by then.
*I have serious qualms about 3 stars (or 2 stars and a wannabe star) being enough to win 16 playoff games while playing with 9 scrubs -- even if quality vets decide they'd play for the league minimum to be a part of the "Sorta-Dream Team."
That said: I think the Mike Miller signing is outstanding. He is the perfect fit for that team: A tall 3-point ace who can pass like a point guard. Miller could average 20 ppg, just on 3s.
(For Miller, let me coin a phrase: "Stretch-3.")
*Even if this is "mold-breaking," LeBron really is Pippen in this scenario.
And I don't know whether he's fine with that characterization (I'm sure he's not), but that's what he left himself with.
*Dan Gilbert's letter was as entertaining as it was insane.
*We've turned a corner on this storyline. I think the NBA just got as interesting as it has ever been, precisely because of this move.
*Don't buy the stuff about how this makes the league uncompetitive. For starters, there were 1.5 teams last season with a real chance to win the title. (And probably no more than a half-dozen who were even remotely in the conversation.)
The Heat joins that list. In fact, beating the Heat becomes the No. 1 story of the NBA. Either they live up to the expectations and win a championship or they are an utter failure (just like the Cavs were with LeBron last year).
What could be more dramatic than that?
Complete SN column here.