Beyond the Arc
By Ben Fiore
2010-2019 has been truly one hell of a ride in the NBA. We saw two dynasties rise and fall, a few legends retire, and a lot of exciting games. With this being the decade I’ve been able to pay the most attention to, I’ve found a few lessons through the NBA that I’d like to share with you as we bid farewell to this phenomenal time period.
No Matter How Strong the Dynasty, They All End:
The two main dynasties from this decade that I’m referring to are the Miami Heat from 2010-2014 and the Golden State Warriors from 2015-2019.
The Heat had scored the signing of the century in 2010 when LeBron James left Cleveland to unite with Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh in Miami. In their strong four year tenure, they made four straight finals appearances and won two titles. Then LeBron returned to Cleveland, Bosh got hurt and Wade couldn’t handle it on his own anymore. Thus, the Heat dynasty is now, five years later, desperately trying to build one again.
The Golden State Warriors posted the NBA’s best all time record of 73-9 BEFORE even getting Kevin Durant. They didn’t win the ship that year but they have won three anyway and have always proved to be dominant with a back to back MVP in Steph Curry leading the way with All Stars like Klay Thompson and Kevin Durant as well as numerous role players like Iggy, Draymond and others. Then KD left, Klay and Steph got hurt and now the Warriors are currently the worst team in basketball after reaching the finals last year. Not all good things last forever.
Legends Never Die, But They Do Retire
Kobe. Bryant. Argued to be possibly the greatest to ever do it. A five-time NBA champion, MVP and an immortal NBA legend. We saw this man put up a FAT 60 points in his last ever game and what a perfect send off it was. This man was the second coming of Michael Jordan. Introduced us to “mamba mentality” and is one of the most lethal talents to ever touch an NBA court. Spent almost 20 years and his entire career as a Laker and will he remembered forever as one of the goats.
Dirk Nowitzki and Dwayne Wade are both also staples of loyalty. They stuck with their teams for the bulk of their careers and brought championships to their respective cities. Flash won in 2006 with the Heat before LeBron and Bosh had gotten there and Dirk did it against the powerhouse Heat on his own in 2011. Not to mention both of these guys are some of the most well like legends in the history of the game and a perfect finish for both of them on the same night.
The League Is Unfortunately Getting Softer
Sadly we don’t have the rumblin stumblin, big man focused NBA anymore. It is very finesse focused and more on scoring than being tough and having defensive presence and grittiness. The Shaqs, Ben Wallace’s, and Stephen Jackson’s of the world have all basically been sniffed out and the game revolves more around drawing fouls and flopping. If you’re like me and can point out the positives, you still love the game despite its drastic changes.
LeBron James Is The Best Player On The Planet
I used to hate even considering this fact but it’s just the damn truth. He proved it last decade, and DEFINITELY did in this one. LeBron has his greatest seasons this decade. Multiple MVPs, multiple championships with 2 teams by winning with his best friend then redeeming himself by returning to Cleveland and giving the city its first ever championship over the favored and history making 73-9 Warriors. He is the definition of consistency and doesn’t relent no matter what. He’s always healthy, and always am MVP candidate. Love him or hate him, you can’t deny greatness. Men and women lie, numbers don’t. LeBron is the best player of this decade.
Basketball Is Still the Most Beautiful Sport Around
Basketball will always hold a special place in my heart. It unites people of all walks of life to watch a poetic game that deals with strategy and athleticism and finesse and grit. 5 guys on the floor at a time working together in a setting that has no comparison to any other pro sport. Every buzzer beater, every draft day, every free agent signing, every new u inform release gets us all excited for the 82 game season of perfection that we love. No matter how the game changes for the worse, it still holds its core values and solidarity of entertainment that keeps us hanging on year after year.
This decade will be remembered as one of the best in the history of the sport no doubt. And although I’m sad it’s coming to a close, it has me so much more pumped to see what the NBA’s future holds. Happy New Year everyone.