The Process. The Decision. The Big Three. They Changed the N.B.A.

The Process. The Decision. The Big Three. They Changed the N.B.A.

The New York Times is reflecting on the past decade in the N.B.A., which has evolved perhaps more than any other major sports league.

The N.B.A. has been less bound to tradition than the other major sports leagues, embracing uniforms changes more so than the N.F.L. and embracing rules changes more readily than the M.L.B.

But the core of the N.B.A. — its strategy, culture and narrative — has been upended in significant ways, both by choice and by urgency, over the past decade. (Remember what free agency was like before “The Decision”?)

Our writers’ task was to pick what changed everything for the N.B.A. at its core over the past decade, be it a moment, a theme or a trend.

Victor Mather

Senior staff editor and reporter

The 76ers decided that the way to win in the N.B.A. was to lose, and lose a lot. Their scheme, dubbed “The Process,” involved making little or no effort to improve the team, losing a lot of games (63, 64 and 72 in consecutive years) and getting great draft picks. The architect of The Process, Sam Hinkie, was eventually fired, but it sort of worked. The 76ers took Joel Embiid with a No. 3 pick and Ben Simmons with a No. 1. It also sort of didn’t work. The No. 1 overall pick Markelle Fultz and the No. 3 overall pick Jahlil Okafor did not turn into stars.

But in a big way, The Process really didn’t work. Even if Embiid and Simmons someday lead the 76ers to glory, those tanking seasons are lost forever, and the fans forced to sit through a 10-72 season in 2015-16 will always have the dismaying memories of a team that often played hard on the court but was continually undercut by an intentionally woeful performance by its front office.

Did The Process change everything? Let’s hope not.

Marc Stein

Hall of Fame sports reporter

The N.B.A. Players Association’s stubborn refusal to allow the league to institute “smoothing” — a gradual salary-cap increase starting in 2016-17 season instead of a nearly $25 million jump — paved the way for the Warriors to sign Durant away from Oklahoma City. Golden State’s failure to win the championship in 2016 after taking a 3-1 series over lead over Cleveland was another huge factor, since Durant almost certainly would not have chosen to join the Warriors if they were two-time reigning champions. But the cap spike is what made it mathematically possible for the Warriors to afford to sign Durant even with Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green already on the roster. There was no stopping the Warriors from becoming a dynasty once Durant joined them.

Benjamin Hoffman

Senior staff editor

It is hard to imagine what the decade would have looked like had LeBron James not signed with Miami before the 2010-11 season. The concept of a Big Three was hardly new — just ask Wilt Chamberlain, Jerry West and Elgin Baylor — but the teaming up of friendly rivals broke with a tradition in a way that many people found unsettling.

Players, however, seemed to like the idea. With James absorbing much

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LeBron James & Serena Williams Named AP’s Athletes of the Decade

LeBron James & Serena Williams Named AP’s Athletes of the Decade

With the 2010s drawing to a close, the Associated Press has bestowed its Male Athlete of the Decade award on LeBron James and Female Athlete of the Decade on Serena Williams.

James’s on-court exploits this past decade are the stuff of legend. After leaving the Cleveland Cavaliers to join the Miami Heat in the summer of 2010 via a controversial “The Decision” special that aired on ESPN, he won two NBA Championships, two NBA MVP awards and two NBA Finals MVP awards, all in 2012 and 2013. He then went home to Cleveland and the Cavs in 2014, and was finally able to bring the Larry O’Brien Trophy to the title-deprived city in 2016. Since leaving Cleveland again in 2018, James has been a member of the Los Angeles Lakers.

Despite his endlessly impressive play and laundry list of awards and accomplishments, James has transcended the game of basketball over the past ten years, becoming a near-omnipotent presence and a cultural icon in the process. Known for his domestic social justice beliefs, James has done everything from wear an “I Can’t Br

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10 Monday AM Reads

10 Monday AM Reads

My late in the year morning reads:

• Why You Actually May Want to Buy ‘Bears‘ in a Bull Market (Fortune)
• Retailers grapple with $100bn returns problem: Online purchases in the US almost three times more likely to be sent back (Financial Times)
• Investors Conquered Fees. Next Up Is Their Own Behavior. (Bloomberg)
• Christmas Clubs and Private Equity Returns (Morningstar) see also  The Financial Lesson of 2008-09 That Most Investors Have Forgotten (Wall Street Journal)
• Dimensional Fund Advisors makes unprecedented slash of fees across all its mutual funds and declines to rule out DFA ETFs muscling into the crowded market (RIABiz)
• The 13 Biggest Career Crashes Of 2019 (Forbes)
• 2 Texas Billionaires Think They Can Fix Philanthropy (Bloomberg)
• SUV shaming: I care about climate change, so why am I driving an SUV? (Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists)
• The most popular fact checks of 2019 (Washington Post)
• LeBron James and the Golden Age of Geezer Athletes (Wall Street Journal) see also LeBron or MJ? How the King is settling the GOAT debate (ESPN)

Be sure to check out our Masters in Business interview th








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The Best N.B.A. Season of the Decade? Too Hard to Choose

The Best N.B.A. Season of the Decade? Too Hard to Choose

The New York Times is reflecting on the past decade in the N.B.A., which has evolved perhaps more than any other major sports league.

The last decade in the N.B.A. had something for everyone. New superstars emerged — Stephen Curry, Kawhi Leonard — and veterans like Ray Allen and Kobe Bryant reminded us all why they were so great. There were heartbreaks (the Spurs) and comebacks (the Cavaliers) and moments fans and players will never forget (“The Block”).

Our writers and editors explained which seasons from the past 10 years were their favorites.

Victor Mather

Senior staff editor and reporter

For incident and excitement, 2011-12. The season started grimly, with a lockout, eventually costing 16 games of the regular season. But the revised 66-game schedule felt fresh and fast, and every game had a little more import. Chris Paul seemed to be headed for the Lakers, only to have the deal vetoed by then-Commissioner David Stern, and he wound up going to the Clippers instead. In February, Jeremy Lin turned into Oscar Robertson for the magical run of Linsanity. In the playoffs, the eighth-seeded 76ers beat the top-seeded Bulls after Chicago’s Derrick Rose injured a knee, and the LeBron James-Dwyane Wade-Chris Bosh Heat won their first title.

Kevin Draper

Sports business reporter

The N.B.A. is at its best when there is a clear top dog but also a number of fun, interesting and credible challengers, and that was never more apparent than in 2012-13.

The Heat had just won a championship with James and were demolishing everything in their path. But the Spurs almost took them down in the finals — and would have, if not for an incredible shot by Allen.

There were so many other fun teams. A plodding, defensive style was still viable, so the Roy Hibbert-led Pacers were designed specifically to stop James, and Tony Allen led the Grit n’ Grind Grizzlies to the Western Conference finals. The post-James Harden Thunder looked unstoppable, until Russell Westbrook needed knee surgery.

It was also a preview of the rest of the decade. The fun-running Warriors upset the Nuggets in the playoffs, and Harden’s Rockets and Ca

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LeBron honored as AP top male athlete of decade

LeBron honored as AP top male athlete of decade

He left Cleveland for Miami, finally became a champion, went back to his beloved northeast Ohio, delivered on another title promise, then left for the Los Angeles Lakers and the next challenge. He played in eight straight Finals. No NBA player won more games or more MVP awards over the past 10 years than he did. He started a school. He married his high school sweetheart.

“That’s all?” LeBron James asked, feigning disbelief. No, that’s not all. Those were just some highlights of the past 10 years. There were many more, as the man called “King” spent the past decade reigning over all others — with no signs of slowing down.

James is The Associated Press Male Athlete of the Decade, adding his name to a list that includes Tiger Woods, Wayne Gretzky and Arnold Palmer. He was a runaway winner in a vote of AP member sports editors and AP beat writers, easily outpacing runner-up Tom Brady of the New England Patriots.

“You add another 10 years of learning and adversity, pitfalls, good, great, bad, and any smart person who wants to grow will learn from all those experiences,” James, who turns 35 Monday, told the AP. “A decade ago, I just turned 25. I’m about to be 35, and I’m just in a better [place] in my life and have a better understanding of what I want to get out of life.”

Usain Bolt of Jamaica was third for dominating the sprints at the 2012 and 2016 Olympics; soccer superstar Lionel Messi was fourth; and Michael Phelps — the U.S. swimmer who retired as history’s most decorated Olympian with 28 medals, 23 of them gold — was fifth.

James was revealed as the winner Sunday, one day after Serena Williams was announced as the AP Female Athlete of the Decade. In his 17th season, he’s on pace to lead the league in assists for the first time while remaining among the NBA’s scoring leaders.

“When LeBron James is involved,” Denver coach Michael Malone said, “I’m never surprised.”

Including playoffs, no one in the NBA scored more points than James in the past 10 years. He started the decade 124th on the league’s career scoring list. He’s now about to pass Kobe Bryant for No. 3. No. 2 Karl Malone and No. 1 Kareem Abdul

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Tom Brady says a tip from Peyton Manning helped him turn Rob Gronkowski into the most dominant tight end in the NFL

Tom Brady says a tip from Peyton Manning helped him turn Rob Gronkowski into the most dominant tight end in the NFL
  • Tom Brady revealed that one of the keys to unlocking the dominance of former New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski came with the help of Peyton Manning.
  • During an offseason workout, Brady and Manning were discussing football, when Manning explained a particular play-action pass protection.
  • Brady took the protection back to offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien and quickly used it to help turn Gronkowski into the most fearsome pass-catcher in the NFL.
  • “Rob Gronkowski has probably 50% of his offensive production on that play,” Brady said.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Tom Brady has played with a number of brilliant teammates over the course of his historic career with the New England Patriots.

But no Patriots pass-catcher was as dominant at his position than tight end Rob Gronkowski, whose presence helped change the landscape of the NFL, leading the way for the likes of Travis Kelce, Zach Ertz, and other tight ends to become significant parts of their respective teams’ passing attacks

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LeBron James Named AP Male Athlete of the Decade over Tom Brady, More

LeBron James Named AP Male Athlete of the Decade over Tom Brady, More
Los Angeles Lakers' LeBron James (23) reacts during an NBA basketball game between Los Angeles Lakers and Los Angeles Clippers, Wednesday, Dec. 25, 2019, in Los Angeles. The Clippers won 111-106. (AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu)

Ringo H.W. Chiu/Associated Press

LeBron James was named the Associated Press’ Male Athlete of the Decade, according to the AP’s Tim Reynolds.

The Los Angeles Lakers star beat out Tom Brady, Usain Bolt, Lionel Messi and Michael Phelps for the honor. Serena Williams was the AP’s Female Athlete of the Decade.

You add another 10 years of learning and adversity, pitfalls, good, great, bad, and any smart person who wants to grow will learn from all those experiences,” James said of the award. “A decade ago, I just turned 25. I’m about to be 35 and I’m just in a better (place) in my life and have a better understanding of what I want to get out of life.”

James added that marrying his wife Savannah was his best moment from the decade.

Over the last 10 years, Brady won three Super Bowls in a league that makes it nearly impossible to remain a title contender for more than a few