Only five times have we seen a three-peat achieved in NBA history, and only three franchises have been able to do it. It radiates immortality, but is one of the most difficult feats to accomplish. While this Miami Heat team and within it LeBron James have proven everything expected of them, joining the few that have won three championships in a row will truly give them a legendary status.
How hard is it winning three in a row? The Lakers have done it twice: First in the 50’s as the Minneapolis Lakers (1952-1954), but the NBA was a very small league back then, so streaks of titles and dominance weren’t that rare. The second once came during Shaquille O’Neal’s prime, winning back-to-back-to-back titles next to Kobe Bryant with the Los Angeles Lakers.
The Boston Celtics had one long streak of eight consecutive championships, the eight peat, which is the only time a team has won more than three consecutive NBA championships, happening between 1959 and 1966.
The Chicago Bulls have also done it twice, all with the trio of Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen and Phil Jackson involved. The first came in 1991 to 1993, and after Jordan retired and came back, the second dynasty was assembled, along with Toni Kukoc, Dennis Rodman, Steve Kerr and others, winning three titles from 1996 to 1998.
Steve Kerr, being a part of such a team, thinks it’s pretty much impossible for the Miami Heat to achieve that three-peat. Maybe it’s about jealousy and not wanting anyone to get to where he was at 15 years ago, but what he says does make sense.
There’s a reason these teams don’t do it. Emotionally, it’s just exhausting to keep doing it year after year, particularly when you have to deal with everything Miami has to deal with on a daily basis, just the constant critiquing and scrutiny on the team, and then you factor in the injuries with Wade and Bosh and their health. I don’t think Miami will get out of the East this year.
But that is the same reasoning as to why the Heat won’t win a second consecutive title, and they did. There is always someone gunning to take down you from the top. The Miami Heat, as the top teams in the NBA usually do, haven’t been able to significantly improve their aging squad. Having the James-Wade-Bosh trio on the team clogs the cap space, so it’s all about minor alterations – adding Greg Oden, re-signing Chris Andersen and possibly adding Michael Beasley.
Mentally shouldn’t be the issue. The Heat have been through so much these last three years, with three NBA finals. Having the world rooting against them didn’t help, but they overcame. LeBron James became the player he was expected to turn into when he came out of high school. There are two things that can deny the Miami Heat from winning a third consecutive NBA title: Wade & Bosh looking and playing like older men along with the injuries that might come along, and other teams improving.
The Indiana Pacers, Chicago Bulls, Oklahoma City Thunder, San Antonio Spurs and Houston Rockets should be all taken very seriously when it comes to their chances to upset the natural order of things. LeBron James, at the height of all his powers, won’t be enough if Wade and Bosh aren’t healthy and at least as good as they were last season, which was barely enough. Anything less, and it’s probably the end of the Big Three era in South Beach.