Miami Heat: Comparing end of Michael Jordan’s Bulls tenure & LBJ’s here

LeBron James #6 of the Miami Heat hugs Michael Jordan after defeating the Charlotte Bobcats (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
LeBron James #6 of the Miami Heat hugs Michael Jordan after defeating the Charlotte Bobcats (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images) /

The Miami Heat usually get it right and it wasn’t for a lack of trying here, but they couldn’t keep LeBron in Miami. Neither could the Bulls with MJ though.

The year was 2014 and the Miami Heat had just come off of four consecutive NBA Finals appearances, two titles, and most immediately, a gutwrenching NBA Finals defeat at the hands of the San Antonio Spurs. Not only did they lose that series to San Antonio, but they were demolished to a tune of 4-1.

While there was sure to be a revenge tour planned, starting on the sunny shores of South Beach, LeBron James had other plans. As the story goes, LeBron didn’t even give Pat Riley, and essentially the Miami Heat, the time of day. Here is an exact quote on the topic from ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith, via a piece on the matter from Bleacher Report.

"I’ll tell you a story that resonates far deeper than that, Jay [Williams]. Not only did Pat Riley come out to Vegas, but literally, while Pat Riley was there to come and talk to LeBron in Vegas, LeBron was playing some Nintendo game, or PlayStation, or whatever the hell that he was playing and it was considered so disrespectful that Alonzo Mourning, from what I was told, had to step in the fray and say, ‘Yo, you are not going to disrespect this man like that.’ That’s how bad it was."

That was apparently foreshadowing his decision, as not relatively long after that occurred, LeBron announced that he was going back to Cleveland. It was a somber day for Miami Heat fans, but after four years of greatness and good times, it was within his right.

Hopping into the DeLorean and heading back to the year of 1998, it was around this time that the only player in NBA history that is certainly greater than LeBron James, Michael Jordan, was in a similar scenario. Heading into the third year of a second potential three-peat (ironically a term that is commercially owned by Pat Riley in various iterations), his Chicago Bulls team was starting to crumble around him.

While they held together long enough to reach and win that final title for the city of Chicago in 1998, that would be the end of that run and Michael Jordan’s basketball career, or at least for that moment and in that city.

Unlike LeBron’s scenario though, Michael Jordan didn’t walk away from what was certain to be more title runs. It has become clearly apparent by digesting ESPN’s The Last Dancethe 10 part documentary on Michael Jordan and his final championship season with the Bulls, that the demise of the Bulls dynasty can be blamed on the front office.

That is the determining factor and final word there. In one scenario the front office guy, Jerry Krause, seemed to want like nothing else but to run off his resident megastar and all those who had grown attached to him.

Next. Taking a look at Michael Jordan’s best game against Heat. dark

In the other scenario, you had the front office guy, Pat Riley, seemingly chasing down his fleeting megastar but being mostly hindered by those to which he was attached to. It is a very interesting dynamic and scenario to think about. It’s all water under the bridge now, but my lord, what a dynasty the Miami Heat could have truly been.