The Miami Heat are easily the best team in basketball, and LeBron James and company deserve all the attention and accolades for their achievements. That being said Miami’s dominance highlights exactly what is presently wrong with the National Basketball Association. By repeating as champions, the Miami Heat have shown us that the NBA lacks the parity of other major sporting leagues.
For the third straight year the Miami Heat were in the NBA Finals. There opponent was also no stranger to success, the San Antonio Spurs have made the playoffs in each of Tim Duncan’s 16 seasons in the league, winning an incredible four titles. Two giants of the basketball world squared off in a series that showcased beautiful sportsmanship throughout, and featured great competition. However there is a significant drop off in talent at the level below the top two.
LeBron James is far and away the best basketball player in the NBA right now, and his supporting cast would make a playoff team on its own accord, put together they have a team that has the ability to fulfill the promise of “not one, not two, not three, not four, not five, not six, not seven…” NBA titles that LeBron made when he first “took his talents to South Beach” three years ago.
The lack of talent is a strange phenomenon in the sport with perhaps the largest talent pool to draw from at the collegiate level. Over 300 Division I programs exist, and less roster spots are available on NBA rosters in comparison with the NFL and MLB. This would lead one to believe that only the cream of the crop would make a roster, and the competition would thus be a battle of the world’s elite, which makes it all the more perplexing that there is so little parity in today’s NBA, Miami can repeat a title so easily.
Part of the problem is the soft salary cap that governs spending in the NBA. Teams like the Heat and Spurs are able to bring in their big three, simply paying a tax for the amount they are over the salary cap. For example, next season the Miami Heat are estimated to be well over the cap, to the point where they will owe nearly $25 million to the league as a luxury tax. Smaller market, and less successful teams, do not have the ability to spend over the salary cap, and as a result do not have an equal chance at putting together a team capable of winning a title.
LeBron James is the best in the world, and so are his Miami Heat, they should be congratulated for their accolades and given all the praise in the world as a result. Their place among the greatest teams in the history of the league is becoming more solidified with each season, and justifiably so. However if the league wants to better itself, it would change the salary cap to a more firm number in order to gain the parity that makes other major sports leagues so captivating, making it tougher for the Heat to repeat as champions each and every year.
Parity makes sports captivating and interesting week in and week out, predictability is something that is better suited for chick flicks where it doesn’t take away from the entertainment. If the NBA wants to better its competition and establish parity, it will recreate its salary cap in a more firm fashion, making it much more difficult for LeBron and the greatest basketball team in the world to repeat as champions year in and year out.
Follow me on Twitter @CharlieGille
Senior Sports Editor
The Guardian Express