By Danny Kohan
In the Summer of 2015, a single snapshot captured the imagination of the sporting world.
There it was, in all its glory: LeBron James, Chris Paul and Dwyane Wade, three of the all-time greats at their position, sitting on a banana in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. Simple, yes. But, oh, oh so mesmerizing.
The fact that Wade’s wife, a famous actress in her own right, Gabrielle Union, also made an appearance, well that was the TMZ cherry on the banana split.
That photo didn’t just spread throughout the normal NBA enthusiast corners of the internet, no, it spread like raging wildfire, through every crease, crack and ungodly crevasse of the internets. I’m talking Game of Thrones level, destroy every social media platform in its path, wildfire. (There’s a spoiler alert in there somewhere).
Just take another look at that picture:
They were all smiles then, not a care in the world. Living it up in the sunshine. Sitting on a Banana in the Bahamas with your Buddies. Now, that’s a great tagline. In fact, once Lavar Ball’s Big Baller Brand is forced to file for bankruptcy, and he is obliged to forego that Triple B logo, LeBron should claim it for just that purpose. Banana, Bahamas, Buddies. He’s already issued a warning shot at Lavar, and we all know he’s not above trolling.
Now, just two years removed from that infamous banana boat snapshot, LeBron’s still chilling, still cruising. Putting up crazy numbers. Smack dab in the middle of an undefeated playoff run, well on his way to a mind-boggling seventh-straight NBA Finals appearance.
His banana buddies? Not so much.
Those clear blue skies, those smooth, carefree rides? They seem like they will go on forever when you’re in your prime. And for LeBron, they have. But, for other mere mortals, danger looms. There, way out in the distance, it simply can’t be avoided…a storm is brewing. A storm of such magnitude, Lieutenant Dan would cower in fear. Of such ferocity, Truman Burbank would turn back the boat.
When first joining forces in the Summer of 2010, Wade and LeBron were considered by many to be on equal footing. LeBron was obviously the more talented player, but Wade had won a championship and so was the “proven winner” the media narrative went. Unlike LeBron, D-Wade “knew” how to win.
The debate over whether the Miami Heat were LeBron’s or Wade’s Team was a legitimate story around the Association for well over a year. Especially after LeBron failed to perform to his superhuman standards in the 2011 Finals. Once LeBron finally did take the mantle as the no doubt number one option and Dwyane was relegated to “second banana” (I know, I’m sorry), there was zero shame in it.
It wasn’t a reflection on Wade in the least; it was the one human being on the planet, the one guy in NBA history even, who contained that combination of ultra-elite-level size, speed, power, vision, and overall feel for the game, finally putting it all together. A once in a generation superstar finding his ultimate groove.
Today, Wade plays second
banana fiddle (Happy now?) to Jimmy Butler. Not a bad player, not bad at all, but LeBron, LeBron he is not. Their Chicago Bulls barely squeaked into the playoffs and after a surprising 2–0 start vs. the one-seeded Celtics, fell victim to four straight losses and an early first round playoff exit. D-Wade finishing the final game of the season with an abysmal two-point performance on 1–10 shooting.
Going into his age 36 season and with considerable mileage on the odometer…well it pains me, but Laker fans know all too well where things are headed for Mr. Wade. The transition from being “The Guy” into being Paul Pierce a beaten down shell of a once proud super-star, those waters are awfully choppy…they show pity to no man.
CP3, on the other hand, at age 32, still has some highly productive seasons left in him. Led by Paul’s stellar play, the Clips rode a 7 game winning streak into this year’s playoffs. With home-court advantage in the first round and still some uncertainty surrounding the health of Kevin Durant, the possibility of CP reaching his first Conference Finals could at least be heard as a soft murmur around NBA circles.
But, again, it was not to be. For the winds of the “Clippers Curse” are mighty and nothing, not even a championship winning coach, three All-NBA players, or even the removal of a belligerently racist owner, can begin to slow its unrelenting blast.
After the Clippers Game 1 home playoff loss to the unproven Utah Jazz was quickly followed by a season-ending injury to Blake Griffin in Game 3 of that series, the gusts of the “Clipper Curse” reached peak Perfect Storm level with an embarrassing Game 7 home loss, eliminating them in the first round.
So, there it is, the Bahama boat threesome, no longer all smiles and sunshine, no longer all peaches and banana cream. But, wait! How dumb of me, I almost forgot! There’s another member of the Banana Boat Crew. One Mr. Carmelo Anthony! While he didn’t actually appear on the banana itself, he is definitely considered to be a part of the crew. Here look, there’s the whole bunch together, toasting on that same Summer of 2015 Bahamas retreat:
Good old Melo’! Let’s check in on him, I’m sure things are going smoothly. Let me just do a quick twitter search and….
NBPA executive director believes Phil Jackson was trying to push Carmelo out of New York with his comments.
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) May 4, 2017
Carmelo Anthony Allegedly Knocked Up Dancer and La La is Pissed https://t.co/dXqB6bMwkW
— TMZ Sports (@TMZ_Sports) April 18, 2017
Good God. Oh, Good God No.
Can someone check on Gabrielle Union.…Please?
Author: Danny Kohan