Author of new LeBron James book says Danny Ainge built Celtics superteam to beat former Cavs superstar

Zach Stevens
3 Min Read

Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James is often credited with creating the NBA’s first “superteam” when he joined the Miami Heat in 2010.

But Jeff Benedict, the author of a book about James that was just released, told Colin Cowherd that in fact, former Boston Celtics executive Danny Ainge created a “superteam” — in order to defeat James himself.

“Nobody understood superteams more than Pat Riley and Danny Ainge, and Ainge is up running the Celtics, Riley’s down in Miami running the Heat,” said Benedict. “The whole thing with [Kevin] Garnett and [Ray] Allen and [Paul] Pierce, what’s he doing? He’s trying to beat LeBron. He’s trying to make sure that the Celtics can beat LeBron because he knows how good LeBron is.”

For many years, Pierce had to go at it alone in Boston, but he was joined by Garnett and Allen in the summer of 2007. It came just weeks after James led a somewhat underwhelming Cleveland Cavaliers team to the NBA Finals.

The Celtics ripped off 66 wins in the 2007-08 season and won their 17th championship, and they came very close to winning another ring two years later. Both years, they defeated James’ Cavs in the second round of the playoffs.

It led him to join forces with Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh in Miami in 2010, where he finally got over the hump and became a champion.

Benedict also added that when Kevin Durant went to the Golden State Warriors in 2016 and formed a superteam there, it was also with the intent of overcoming James, just as the Celtics looked to do.

Some would say that the NBA’s first-ever superteam was actually formed by the Lakers in the late 1960s, when they traded for Wilt Chamberlain and added him to a squad that already featured superstars in Jerry West and Elgin Baylor.

Then in the mid-1980s, they possessed Magic Johnson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and James Worthy, all of whom are Hall of Famers and won at least one NBA Finals MVP award.

Today’s Lakers are not exactly a superteam, as they have been built using a two-superstar model around James and Anthony Davis. They won it all in 2020 with such a model, and this year, many feel they can do it again with both luminaries and plenty of depth around them.

It seems like the era of the “superteam” is now over.

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Zach has always had a profound love and respect for the Lakers that has inspired him to write about the franchise. He has a great deal of admiration for LeBron James, and his overall knowledge about the NBA has made him a solid addition to the Lakers Daily staff.