Superteams are among the most controversial aspects of the NBA. It has become quite common today, but there are still plenty of fans who resent the idea of stars teaming up and stacking the deck to carve out an easy path to the Championship.
Naturally, a lot of fans blame LeBron James for normalizing superteams, as it was him who created his own in Miami back in the early 2010s. They would go on to dominate for the next four years before LeBron went and started another power squad in Cleveland.
For years, LeBron has gotten hate and criticism for his role in the "superteam" phenomenon. Speaking on JJ Redick’s Old Man & The Three podcast, multiple time All-Star Blake Griffin clowned those who hold hate for Bron, using the 2008 Boston Celtics as proof that superteams existed long before the Heat.
“I think it’s really funny. You know how everybody really s— on LeBron. LeBron was kind of the first guy that everybody s— on for joining — the [Boston] Celtics did it,” Griffin said, via Sam Leweck of Heat Nation. “They brought K.G. (Kevin Garnett) and Ray Allen to team up with Paul Pierce.”
It's undeniable that All-Star partnerships have existed for many, many years. Tracing back to the Showtime Lakers, LeBron is hardly the first one to play alongside fellow A-list players.
It is also true, though, that the KD/Pierce/Allen Celtics were built much differently. As Redick pointed out, it was Danny Ainge who assembled that team. In Miami, it was LeBron and Dwyane Wade who conspired to come together behind the scenes.
“Yeah, but I’ve said this before, and I’ll stick by it,” Redick said. “The Celtics did it by front office, right? It wasn’t — the LeBron thing sort of set off this player empowerment era. By linking up with D-Wade and Chris Bosh, and we’re all going to go to the same place together, having these conversations behind closed doors with USA Basketball, whatever it may be. Whereas with the Celtics, it was Danny Ainge the mastermind, up in the front office, putting up the superteam.”
It's certainly interesting to think about the origin of super squads, and what makes them different today than they were years ago.
Whether you blame LeBron James or not, there's no use getting worked up about it. As more time passes, the trend will only continue to grow.