By SAM SPIEGELMAN
It seems like a lifetime ago that LeBron James announced he was "taking his talents to South Beach."
Since then, we've come to terms with the fact that James joined up with fellow All-Stars Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade to win two - potentially three - NBA championships with the Miami Heat. Many who don't call Ohio their home have forgiven and forgotten James' decision and have moved on.
But now a new rumor has surfaced, one that would bring New York Knicks All-Star forward Carmelo Anthony to South Beach to join up with the aforementioned Big Three.
ESPN.com reported that James, Wade and Bosh could all opt out of their current contracts at the end of the month to make room for Anthony this summer. It would be a sacrifice, financially at least, for four of the NBA's top players - to take "a significant pay cut" in order to join forces and go after numerous NBA titles.
But at the same time, the Heat would look more than the Eastern Conference All-Star squad than a typical NBA roster.
Critics jumped on LeBron for teaming up with Wade and Bosh, consensus top-10 players in the league. And when they won back-to-back titles, those who continually doubt James suggested he couldn't do it by himself when he was in Cleveland, and needed the assistance of other elite players to break through.
So what would they say if the Big Three turned into the Big Four?
The critics would multiply by the thousands, but this time I'm more inclined to agree. The addition of Anthony to Bosh, Wade and James gives Miami a competitive advantage that no other NBA team can stack up to. Not one team should stand in their way en route to NBA titles, and as the Larry O'Brien trophies stack up, LeBron's legacy will crumble.
There is no way escaping the fact that being on this ultra-team, LeBron would be chastised for needing this much help to win titles.
The thing about it is that nobody is doing anything wrong by creating the Big Four. All-Stars are accepting reduced salaries to try and win titles together. Essentially, they're assembling the best team possible with All-Star-caliber players.
But when LeBron James is the face of the team, there's a legacy aspect to deal with. James is the most polarizing figure in all of sports, the most scrutinized, the most discussed and the one laden with the most pressure.
Being the key cog on Big Four-type roster takes away from his individual glory, which he may not care about but the rest of the NBA does. By winning with Wade and Melo and Bosh by his side, what has he truly accomplished?
This is bound to be a touchy subject, and this could be the first of many takes on the Big Four as more details are leaked. James still has to focus on helping the Heat even the series with the Spurs Thursday night and stave off falling into a 3-1 hole heading back to San Antonio. It's yet another issue LeBron will have to push aside to try and win a ball game.
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