Superteams have existed in the NBA from its beginnings, with numerous great Lakers, Celtics, Bulls, etc., teams through the eras that had multiple Hall-of-Famers on one squad. But the way those teams started to form and get together drastically changed in 2010, when LeBron and Bosh decided to link up with Wade in Miami, signing there as free agents in an unprecedented situation up until that point in NBA history.
Power to the players
Drafts and trades used to be the way to build a team full of great players, making it much more challenging to form superteams. That's why the NBA used to be much more well-spread with talent, unlike the centralization of great teams we had in the last decade. Teams had all the power, and players weren't as free to sign anywhere, force their way to certain teams and disregard their contracts.
The starting point of that era for many was the 2010 free agency. Some of the best players in the league made a deal, teamed up in one place, and took over the league in a manner never seen before. That made all the other stars realize they could control their future, playing where and with who they wanted, jumpstarting a trend of superteams in the 2010s.
Obviously, it was good for the league to have so much star power in a few places, but the overall quality, competitiveness, and fairness suffered, which brought a heap of criticism on LeBron and the Heat. Not only did LeBron get flamed for quitting on the Cavs and joining forces with other superstars to win a ring, but he also shifted the balance of the power.
MJ's sneak diss
Obviously, the formation of the Big 3 Heat drew a lot of reactions from everybody in the NBA world, and one of the most notable comments came from none other than the GOAT, Michael Jordan:
"That's yet to be determined. Free agency is a part of every professional sport. How that's going to play into this whole scenario, I don't know, time will tell. There's no way I would have called up Larry and called up Magic and said 'Hey, let's get together and play on one team'. But things are different, I can't say that's a bad thing, that's the opportunity kids have today. In all honesty I was trying to beat those guy, I don't know if they would have been on my team. If you look at the Dream Team, they were on my team and it wasn't too much of competitive thing. I'm a competitive guys and I like to play against competitive players and see what happens from there."
Jordan didn't in any way bash or criticize the move, even acknowledging it's a different time and luxury the young guys had. But comparing it to how he viewed the game it was unimaginable. When MJ was getting bounced out by the Celtics and Pistons in consecutive years, he didn't even think about switching teams or joining some of the biggest names in the league at the time, like Larry or Magic.
He did it on his own, with his original team. He eventually persevered and got rewarded with six championships that make him the greatest figure in NBA history, loved universally amongst almost all NBA fans to this day. It's a shame we don't have too much of that attitude and mindset in today's game.