Basketball Hall of Famer Kevin McHale knows what it's like to walk on the court as part of an NBA dream trio. And he also knows what it's like to battle against one.
With the Boston Celtics, McHale paired up with Larry Bird and Robert Parish, who often squared off against the L.A. Lakers' Magic Johnson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and James Worthy.
So he knows a little bit about that whole LeBron James-Dwayne Wade-Chris Bosh scenario. The Miami Heat superstars play their first regular-season game together tonight - against the Boston Celtics.
"You feel confident when you step on the floor," McHale told CNN, recalling how it was to play with such strength around and with him. "What happens when you have three really quality players, never do all three have a bad game. One may have a bad game, but if all three have a good game - you win. Two of the three is good enough to carry you. And one guy can carry you for 40 minutes and the other can catch fire at the end to score key hoops."
So when his former team hits the floor in tonight's NBA opener against the much talked-about, hyped, and sometimes loathed "new dream team," McHale can't wait to watch.
"Its going to be fun," he said. "It's going to be Boston's big three [Paul Pierce, Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett] which has won a championship together, versus the new big three, which haven't won an NBA game yet but the expectation level is so high."
McHale said just having the James-Wade-Bosh trio, and a deep bench behind them, will give the Heat confidence every night. And with that strength, it's likely keeping up with that trio is going to send many teams in foul trouble, McHale said.
How well they do together will be about those three all-stars working as one.
"That's what its all about - relying on each other, not caring who gets the glory," McHale said. "There are going to be nights where one of them are only going to get 12 points and that's because the other two are on fire and have 30-some. It's just knowing the next night you'll get yours."
McHale admitted he wasn't on the LeBron train after the dramatic production of his move from Cleveland to Miami, saying the announcement show "The Decision," "was like watching someone get their teeth pulled without any pain medication."
But he's all about the big man and his team now - if nothing else for the excitement of the game.
"I think its great for the league. Miami is either the team everyone loves, or loves to hate, which is perfect," he said. "Anytime you can be like a team that goes out there and polarizes people one way or another that's really important. I don't love to hate them or love them, but I'm going to love to watch them."
But the Heat aren't the only team people should be looking at this season. Remember his Celtics, McHale says.
"They went and got bigger they went and got O'Neal - Jermaine and Shaquille," he said. "They say, one O'Neal was good, two is better."
And he likes what the spotlight on Miami has brought out in the Orlando Magic.
"I like the fact that Orlando is upset," McHale said. "They're like 'Hey we're the best team in Florida,' they [The Miami Heat] haven't won a thing yet.
And not to forget, there's the two-time defending champion Lakers are looking to make it a three-peat for coach Phil Jackson in what may be his last season.
"The Lakers are kinda snickering. They're like, 'What me worry? Come on. If they're lucky enough to get to the NBA Finals, go through Eastern Conference finals, we'll see them then.'"
Despite the fanfare and the hype over Miami, McHale said it'd be foolish to declare them winners already. He pointed to Chicago Bulls' star Derrick Rose's comments when asked whether he could be the best player in the league this year and he said he could - despite all the other big names.
"That's how you have to feel. 'Why not me? Why not my team?'" McHale said. "Everyone's handing the title over to Miami and I think teams are upset about it. And they're going to play with that same heat and anger to take them down."