If you have watched any of these amazing NBA playoff games, it is apparent that to win you have to have not only stars, but superstars. To win the NBA championships, your superstars must produce when it matters most. This year’s playoffs are the epitome of this statement. Between the play of LeBron James, Kobe Bryant, Dwight Howard and Carmelo Anthony, the NBA has a quartet of stars that are performing at the highest level not seen since the retirement of Michael Jordan or during the league’s heyday in the 1980s. Each night they seem more determined to one up each other.
Take Anthony’s performance in game two on Thursday night in LA; then how about James’ buzzer beater on Friday to led Cleveland over Orlando. On Saturday Bryant, not to be outshined, responded with 41 points in 41 minutes as the Lakers won game three on the road in Denver. Lastly, Howard, who has become the NBA’s most dominating inside player, led the Magic to a game three victory. The Magic wouldn’t be up 2-1 in this series if Howard had not stepped up and destroyed the Celtics in games six and seven of the Eastern Conference semi-finals.
These players are bringing back memories for me of Julius Erving, Larry Bird and Magic Johnson who all played like this on a regular basis in the early 80s. Those were great springs and summers, and so is this one.
The best part of this new generation of stars is that their Olympic experience last summer made them hungry not for personal glory, but for team success. That experience taught them sacrifice and gave them all a taste of winning. Now Howard, James and Anthony are hungry for what Bryant has–NBA rings. Bryant is obviously motivated by winning without Shaquille O’Neal. Another championship would cement his legacy.
All except Bryant are young and we can look forward to many great years ahead. I can see these four teams battling repeatedly over the next few years, if all the superstars stay in place and stay healthy.
Who tops who next? Stay tuned and fine out. These series seem destined for seven game battles and we are watching the next great chapter in NBA history.