Magic Johnson and Michael Jordan quickly come to mind. LeBron James joined the list last season.
James raised his game to a second-to-none level in winning his first title. With the spotlight on him even more this season, James led Miami to a 27-game winning streak — the second longest in league history — and the best regular season record.
In its past 43 games, the Heat is 41-2. It’s no wonder sports highlight shows carve out so much time to praise the Heat. They like that in the league office.
“There are some terrific players in the NBA, but LeBron is just unbelievable,” Baylor said. “I mean, really, just spectacular. I also like [Dwyane] Wade. He’s terrific. [Chris] Bosh is a good player, too.
“You don’t have a lot of good teams now, so when you have guys like Wade and Bosh on one team, you have a chance to be really good. You add James, man, now you’re talking about a great team.”
The current Lakers were supposed to be another. A Miami-Los Angeles NBA Finals seemed inevitable after Dwight Howard and Steve Nash joined Kobe Bryant. But the Lakers’ failure is proof that bad management can ruin anything.
San Antonio is smart and determined, but probably not talented enough to overtake Miami. Russell Westbrook’s knee injury makes Oklahoma City less special. New York? In his ninth season in the league, Carmelo Anthony still hasn’t proven he understands what it takes to play championship basketball.
“People want to watch a great team,” Baylor said. “That never changes.”
The NBA right now has only one truly great team: the Heat. From the league’s perspective, that might not be such a bad thing.
For previous columns by Jason Reid, visit washingtonpost.com/reid.