NBA: With Wade out, where are the other 'Banana Boat' guys heading?
Dwyane Wade’s glorious NBA career came to an end when the Miami Heat played their last regular season game against the Brooklyn Nets. The entire season has been a celebration of Wade’s career, and once the Heat were out of playoff race, the entire focus was on D-Wade. After all, Wade helped Miami win its first championship in 2006, and then played a crucial role in bringing in two more trophies.
The members of the banana boat crew were also at Brooklyn to celebrate with Dwyane Wade. Superstars LeBron James, Chris Paul, Carmelo Anthony and Dwyane Wade form the Banana Boat crew. The group got its nickname a few years back when pictures of these players enjoying a banana boat ride went viral on the internet.
During an interview, Wade was being asked about the other three superstars and their careers. Wade mentioned that while he was leaving the game, the other three are still chasing basketball ambitions. All three basketball veterans have very diverse paths ahead of them.
LeBron James: To build a winning team
This regular season ended with LeBron being out of the playoffs and Magic Johnson quitting his job. It is an understatement to say that the Lakers had a bad season. On Christmas Day, the Lakers were the fourth-seed in the Western conference and were climbing. But things changed once LeBron got injured. The Lakers dropped quickly in the standings without LeBron.
The other factor that affected the Lakers were the failed trade talks with the New Orleans Pelicans for Anthony Davis. The negotiations became a public failure for the Lakers and it demoralised the younger Laker players. The team chemistry was also destroyed and the Lakers ended up losing a lot of games.
There are a lot of superstars who will be free agents this summer. LeBron will have to play a key role to get some of that talent to LA. He will use this to change the roster and the coaching staff. LeBron might be 34 years old but he can still carry a team to the Finals and possibly win a championship. But he will need a strong player by his side and better shooters. Just like with his earlier Cleveland and Miami teams.
Chris Paul: To win a championship
The Game Six of last year’s Western Conference finals will forever haunt CP3 and the Houston Rockets. The Rockets were in a good position to beat the mighty Golden State Warriors. But Chris Paul’s hamstring injury in Game Six and his absence in Game Seven had a huge impact. The Rockets lost to the Warriors after taking them to seven games. Houston were effectively a hamstring away from winning the championship.
The Rockets did not start the season on a strong note. They lost defensive players in the off-season and they had to deal with injuries to multiple players. But once James Harden started putting up historic numbers, and the Rockets started adding good players during the trade, the team started playing well.
Chris Paul’s health will be a significant factor. CP3 has a history of injuries and a lot of them have come at crucial times. This season, Chris Paul has hired a new physio to help him stay healthy. While James Harden is the reigning MVP and the star of the team, he has a history of poor performance in the playoffs. CP3 who will have to be the floor general and get the Rockets over the hump. This could very well be Chris Paul’s last chance to win a championship.
Carmelo Anthony: To get back into the league
The last two seasons have been incredibly hard on Melo. He went from being a franchise player, to a third option on a team, to being out of the league. His last team was the Houston Rockets who traded him to the Chicago Bulls, where he was waived off. Legally, any playoff team can sign Melo before Sunday. But the chances of the superstar being in the playoffs this season looks slim.
The game has changed and a player like Melo might find it hard to get back into the league. Especially at the age of 34. Melo is not known for playing defense and his style of play does not suit many teams. His unwillingness to accept a bench role has made his chances very limited. Questions have been raised if Carmelo Anthony is done and if his NBA days are over.
Not every superstar gets to retire like Dwyane Wade or Kobe Bryant. There have also been great players in the past who just fell off. But Melo is trying to claw his way back into the league. He could still help a team develop and win. He could have a dignified retirement from the game instead of just being let go. Only time will tell.