There’s a rea­son why they call these su­per teams su­per

Fans might com­plain about stacked Warriors and Cavs, but they’re not look­ing away


They call them “su­per teams” in some quar­ters, NBA ros­ters con­structed with multi hall-of-famers, bril­liant play­ers in the primes of their ca­reers who band to­gether to lay wreck­age to the rest of the league, teams that stand so far apart that there are those who wonder how much of a scourge they are on the game.

Guess no one was pay­ing at­ten­tion more than a quar­ter of a cen­tury ago — or at least no one had ac­cess to the in­for­ma­tion and opin­ion over­load that ex­ists to­day — be­cause no mat­ter what the Golden State Warriors and Cleveland Cavaliers are, they are hardly new. How about Magic John­son, Ka­reem Ab­dul-Jab­bar and James Wor­thy? What were Larry Bird, Kevin McHale and Robert Parish? How come no one com­plained too vo­cif­er­ously about Michael Jor­dan, Scot­tie Pip­pen and Den­nis Rod­man, hall-of-famers all? Tim Dun­can, David Robin­son, Manu Gi­no­bili, Tony Parker? How come that wasn’t known as “su­perduper” team since all four will even­tu­ally be en­shrined in Spring­field, Mass.

No, nei­ther the Stephen Curry-Klay Thompson-Kevin Du­rant tripling in Golden State nor the LeBron James-Kyrie Irv­ing-Kevin Love tri­umvi­rate in Cleveland are a re­cent phe­nom­e­non, and the dis­cus­sion of “su­per teams” lead­ing up to the open­ing of the NBA fi­nal on Thurs­day in Oak­land is, in the par­lance of the day, noise.

The fact is these two teams, laden with all-stars and play­ers that have dom­i­nated this era, are the best two teams in the league and should play for the ti­tle.

Just like the Lak­ers and Celtics did in the 1980s, like the Chicago Bulls did in the 1990s, the San An­to­nio Spurs in the 2000s, the Mi­ami Heat (with James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh to­gether on one team) did in the 2010s. Bad for the game? How about per­fect for the game? It may not sit well with fans of teams that have been un­able com­pete with the Warriors and Cavaliers but that says as much about man­age­ment of those other fran­chises than it does about Golden State and Cleveland, teams that played by the rules of the game and build what they have.

It is not a stretch to sug­gest the best-of-seven se­ries will draw among the largest au­di­ences to ever watch an NBA play­off se­ries, es­pe­cially if it drags to a sixth or sev­enth game.

Fans in Toronto and Bos­ton and In­di­anapo­lis, in Port­land and Salt Lake City and San An­to­nio will tune in, de­spite their teams be­ing routed in the run-up to this se­ries.

The global im­pact will be phe­nom­e­nal given the stature of the play­ers in the se­ries, the his­tory of the twoyear-old ri­valry and the NBA’s in­ter­na­tional reach.

The ca­sual sports fan, in­un­dated with stories and high­lights and hype, will tune in. Bad for the game? Quite the con­trary. What sticks in the craw of some fans is how the teams were con­structed, as if the Warriors or Cavaliers broke some rules in putting to­gether their ros­ters. Cleveland bot­tomed out in the first post-LeBron era, made what’s turned out to be as­tute draft pick in Irv­ing, who, re­mem­ber, had played 11 college games be­fore be­ing drafted, and traded an- other No. 1pick, Andrew Wig­gins, for Love.

They got James back be­cause they had the cap room to do it and his long-stand­ing ties to Ohio were unique.

The Warriors were al­most equally as in­ept and got the chance to draft Curry be­cause Min­nesota messed up; they lived through his an­kle woes and got him to agree to an as­ton­ish­ingly good (from the team per­spec­tive) con­tract. Dray­mond Green was a sec­ond-round pick, Thompson was in­spired draft­ing.

Du­rant? The Warriors got him be­cause of what they had built and — this is for­got­ten in some quar­ters — be­cause they were able to dump salary on teams that knew they were help­ing the rich get richer but still did it.

So in­stead of belly­ach­ing about the star-stud­ded line­ups that will con­test one of the most ea­gerly an­tic­i­pated cham­pi­onship se­ries in re­cent mem­ory, it’s time to cel­e­brate great­ness.

And re­mem­ber that it is not new, nor has it been done in any ne­far­i­ous man­ner.


The rich got richer when Kevin Du­rant, left, joined Stephen Curry and Golden State.

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