Three and a half years later, it's a no-brainer for LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh. They're two-time champions, have been to the NBA Finals every season they've been together, and are looking to become one of the rare teams that completes a three-peat if they can get back to the Finals this season and win the series. But it wasn't always that rosy for the Big Three and the Miami Heat.
In a sit-down interview with Steve Smith, James admits that during the early parts of their time together, they weren't quite sure they had made the right decision about their present, future, and legacy. The Heat struggled out of the gate by going just 9-8. They had run-ins with each other, with Erik Spoelstra, and they faced the most hatred and scrutiny any team has ever faced in NBA history.
"My mind the whole year, I was not who... that wasn't the guy who fell in love with the game of basketball," LeBron James admitted. "It wasn't. I could feel it like every single game, I just felt like it was so heavy on me. All the games on the road, being booed, the aura around us was just so bad."
At one point in the season, we was 9-8. We weren't playing good basketball. We were out of sync. And me and Dwyane Wade were looking at each other like, 'Did we make the right choice, man?'"
The interview in its entirety will air during All-Star weekend next week on NBA TV. Here's a quick clip of James delivering these quotes:
The biggest question from the interview was also the biggest question during the time they made the decision to team up. It was the question that remained after the first month, the first half of the season, the first regular season, and the first playoff run that ended in defeat at the hands of the Dallas Mavericks in 2011. It was the same question that remained during the second season together, during their series against the Indiana Pacers in the second round, and especially right before Game 6 of the Eastern Conference finals.
"Can we, two guys who basically held franchises on their shoulders, can they decide to give one shoulder to each other?"
At that point, things seemed to click for James. He delivered one of the most locked-in performances in NBA playoff history in Game 6, the Heat won Game 7, and five games later the Heat had their first title in the LeBron James era and their second franchise championship. We no longer see those doubts from James and company.
There are new doubts. How will Dwyane Wade hold up over the course of the season and the playoffs? Will Chris Bosh still be able to step up when the Heat need him? Are the role players up for the challenge one more time? Do they have enough offense and defense to hold off the Indiana Pacers in the East? Will they need to lean on Michael Beasley and Greg Oden at any time during this playoff run?
However, we no longer wonder if they can work together. We certainly don't wonder whether or not they made the best choice. We just have to see if it will hold up and what LeBron James' next decision will be this summer when he's likely to be an unrestricted free agent.
(H/T - Ball Don't Lie)