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Landing LeBron doesn't make Heat a title lock

by | CBSSports.com National Columnist

They are going to be penciled into the NBA Finals by almost everyone with the same ease of an ATM withdrawal. Penciled in for decades, by some. But if you think LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh are locks to win championships, you don't know ego.

James, Wade and Bosh are not the Palm Tree Trio, they are the Three Me-Egos.

This is not a question of whether the team can win. The biggest issue is which will happen first: a championship or an ego-driven breakup.

Having this much talent on one NBA team remains a historical rarity. It's still mostly unknown territory and the truth is -- the real truth -- is the odds of ego dividing the Heat are far higher than the Three Me-Egos winning a title.

This Justice League of Ballers is a younger team with even stronger egos than the Boston Celtics trio of Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen or the 1968 Los Angeles Lakers trio of Jerry West, Wilt Chamberlain and Elgin Baylor. I don't think Wade will subjugate to James or LeFavre to Wade. Bosh may be Spinderella while Wade and James are Salt and Peppa but his ego will become tender as well.

This is no slam dunk for a dynasty. It's not even a sure thing they win one championship. Ego is the reason why.

The group is no lock. No lock at all. There's no such thing.


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Ego is a quick spreading cancer for which science has yet to find a cure. It has ruined empires, caused wars, and turned brother against brother.

Ego is one of the most formidable forces in the known universe. It's like gravity or a powerful current; it mercilessly shapes, erodes and transforms the most stubborn of men.

It's destroyed team after team and athlete after athlete. A mix of ego and greed ignited baseball players' chase of hypodermic needles and homers. Ego is why Jerry Jones and Jimmy Johnson parted ways or Terrell Owens obliterated locker rooms or why Al Davis' Raiders have struggled.

Ego is one reason why it's difficult for Super Bowl teams to repeat, Jose Canseco sold out and Ben Roethlisberger was exposed as a disgusting human being.

Ego is why Kobe put Shaq in an ejection seat and sent him into low orbit. It's A-Rod. It's Tiger Woods chasing tail from coast to coast and thinking he wouldn't get caught. It's Stephon Marbury. It's Brett Favre.

LeFavre has already demonstrated his ego is powered by 1,000 nuclear reactors and in the end, in Miami, he'll be just as radioactive and might attempt to take Wade's team away from him. There's nothing James has done so far to dissuade from that strong possibility.

Just becase these three will be on the court together doesn't mean the titles will happen. (Getty Images)  
Just becase these three will be on the court together doesn't mean the titles will happen. (Getty Images)  
This is what the Heat and the team's apologists will say. Wade and James (as well as Bosh to some degree) are close friends. They will keep the egos in check. Sure. Sure they will. What makes anyone think after the LeFavre ESPN Telethon that he'd keep his ego in check?

Don't mention the historically calming influence on veterans of Pat Riley, either. In Riley's heyday, he coached guys that wanted to win at all costs even if it meant subjugating their egos. James isn't that guy. He's more interested in a swollen bank account and hanging with Oprah than the needed grittiness of winning a title.

Magic Johnson had the clutch gene. LeBron James wants to sell jeans.

The Three Me-Egos. That’s what they are.

You think the three will be impossible to beat? You don't know sports. You don't know people. You don't know ego.

There are examples of three greats coming together on one team and one of the best were the 1968-69 Lakers. That season West, Baylor and Chamberlain were on the same squad. They made the NBA Finals but lost to Boston.

The next season, the three greats again went to the NBA Finals and again lost -- this time to New York. The three didn't play together again.

So that super trio failed to win a title and they were better than this trio. Far better.

Some will go ahead and schedule the parade in Miami. Feel free.

It'll only happen if the egos are checked at the door.

They rarely are.


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