Robert Swift was one of the last prep-to-pro big men before the NBA instituted its one-and-done rule. He never became the player he might have become, and was paid a lot of money for a few years of nondescript basketball. And now he's all the way gone.
LeBron James and the Heat are great enough to win multiple NBA Championships. But greatness isn't the most important thing, and it will take more than that to continue dominating a rapidly changing game.
The 2003 New Jersey Nets were one of the more doomed NBA Finalists in recent memory. A decade later, they look like one of the more interesting teams of their era. How did such a boring team get so retroactively fascinating?
All basketball players work in the same medium, with something like the same tools. This doesn't mean they're all the same type of artist, though. We know the greatest players not just by the new things they create, but by how they create them.