In today's era there are always the naysayers who are set on what kind of team should win a Championship.
They're either backing the athleticism, unpredictability and hunger of the youthful side, or throwing their support behind the veteran side riddled with game knowledge and poise.
While the Miami Heat have been great at making history, and they edge closer to becoming a dynasty, one of the key factors that's gone oddly unnoticed is the average age of their roster. Be it their playoff stats (Heat have now won 12 consecutive playoff games following a loss) or securing yet another pivotal spot in the NBA Finals, the team has accomplished all of this with an average age of 30.6 years old.
While the majority would think it's the San Antonio Spurs ready to check into a retirement home, the current Miami Heat are tied for the oldest NBA team alongside the Dallas Mavericks. Yet, despite all the extra postseason basketball they've played (plus, throw in All Star and Olympic appearances too), Miami didn't make it to the Finals one, two or three times because of luck or poor competition, they've consistently fought and managed their time better than any other NBA franchise.
This won't be happening anytime soon, perhaps ever given how much calculating and time it takes to construct a team with such ambition. This season however proved to be the toughest. Not since the Big 3 came together in 2010 with one collective goal in mind, did we wonder if this was the season we'd see the collapse. There were occasions, (more often than not), where a trip to a fourth consecutive NBA Finals seemed like nothing more than a pipe dream. Age, knees, fatigue - all of these troublesome factors appeared to infiltrate Miami's season to a point where it was only natural to think a Heat decline was imminent.
Amongst the talk of coasting, there were warranted accusations Miami were simply not motivated anymore. They were losing games to teams they shouldn't, at times playing offense that deserved to be played in Summer League and neither LeBron James or Dywane Wade could collaborate on a play to save themselves. We were witnessing anything but a Championship team. And so it happened, the old adage of "switching on" occurred and Friday night the Heat reminded us this isn't a team who won the Eastern Conference Finals because of yet another bad East season but because they've been a champion side all along. No need to delve into unnecessary energy levels until required.
Not since the 1987 Boston Celtics made their fourth consecutive Finals appearance has a team been so consistently in sync. Forget the weak conference and the Pat Riley orchestration, this isn't a feat up for dismissal. The Celtics in the fourth year were led by Larry Bird, Kevin McHale and Robert Parish, with Boston's average age being 29.4. The previous record holders, the 1985 Lakers, had an average age of 27.4.
Most are aware James isn't quite 30 years old (later this year) yet and while he and Chris Bosh are both in their respective primes, Wade at 32 years is still on the young side when it comes to their teammates. It's exactly this reason why this team thrives in high pressure situations; the veteran's know their role. Ray Allen who at 38 still remains their go-to in clutch scenarios and 35-year-old utility Shane Battier has another chance at winning a third NBA title in part thanks to his 13 years in the NBA.
33-year-old James Jones and 34-year-old Rashard Lewis both exhibited their pedigree throughout the playoffs. No longer are they the ones to make fun of for being bench warmers, they've now they have earned the respect of previous doubters. What we are all set to watch this week IS a dynasty. We're right in the midst of it, a moment so rare in sporting history and one that together as fans, should embrace in spite of any sour grapes.
Can they possibly keep this up for a fifth season in a row? Perhaps. If the top-tier players stay healthy and want to continue on with the plan that has served them so well then who says no?
Is this as good as it gets for Miami? Right now, that doesn't even matter. This is an empire set to live on regardless.