I remember talking to a friend of mine in 1996 when tech stocks in the Bay Area started heading north. This guy was convinced that everything was cyclical and just as stocks had boomed and busted in the past that the time for tech stocks was over and ready to begin a massive decline. Obviously he was both astronomically wrong and right at the same time as tech stocks continued booming for at least another 3 years to insane heights and then did indeed bust... unfortunately this was just enough time for Mark Cuban to make his billion dollars, cash-out as fortunate few did, purchase the Mavericks, and torture everyone including players, coaches, refs and basketball fans alike for the next decade.
I can't help but think of this looking at the Cavs-Pistons series. Wasn't it just about 20 years ago exactly that a certain basketball prodigy wearing the number "23" was making a push in the playoffs with a subpar supporting cast against a defense-minded Pistons team that everyone knew would end up victorious? I know some columns have alluded to this but I'm surprised in this era where the media overdoes any minor story that is the least bit fascinating that more has not been made of this story. Perhaps it's because, much like Jordan, until Lebron finds his Pippen, Grant, and Phil Jackson, getting past the Pistons is going to be pipe-dream and why report on a story that is probably not going to be relevant for atleast 3-5 more years? Personally, I find it an interesting beginning to the Lebron Era of the NBA and I would not be surprised if Lebron eventually finds an equal level of success to the Jordans and Magic Johnsons in this league. Where Lebron lack Michael's single-minded desire to win and Magic's charisma, I believe he makes up for it with his Magic-like passing, Jordan-like athletic prowess, and a uniquely agreeable personality that both commands respect for his skills without requiring acts of violence to teammates (a la Jordan) and can provide commercial rewards to any potential Pippen-esque sidekick.
Also, I wouldn't be half surprised if someone like Kobe or McGrady, who have spent the better parts of their careers trying to prove unsuccessfully that they are the next Jordan, end up realizing at about age 30-31 that they have 2-3 good years left, finally suck it up and do what they need to do to play Pippen to Lebron's Jordan. Add a tough power forward like... well Carlos Boozer (too bad he already bailed on the Cavs and ain't likely to be invited back) and it's a scary redux of the Bulls teams from the early 90's. You even have Damon Jones to play BJ Armstrong/Craig Hodges, Ilgauskas as Bill Cartwright and Eric Snow as... well, let's be honest, they better ditch Snow if they ever plan on winning a championship.
The potential for Lebron is clearly unlimited at this point and, much like Jordan, it's going to take a few years of physical, mental, and emotional pounding from a superior Pistons teams in the Eastern Conference to eventually reveal Lebron's destiny... i'm just hoping it ends up looking more like the remake that resulted in Scorsese's The Departed rather than the Vince Vaughan-starring remake of Psycho...
Pistons in 6.