I have a personal problem with the Miami Heat, and I think most of you do as well. The problem is that I haven’t been able to do very much to stop their recent dominance (although my Philadelphia 76ers’ shocking win over the Heat was some solace). It’s not just LeBron, although I can’t stand how his move to the Heat has coincided with his ludicrous, petty flopping and a persona on and off court that oozes entitlement and arrogance. I also can’t stand D-Wade, with his dirty kicks to opponent’s groins and elbows to whatever painful area he fancies on that occasion.
It’s hard to tolerate Bosh too, as he constantly tries to hide his timid core with a tough façade, shrieking like a dinosaur when he hits an insignificant 10-foot jumper. Their clueless, bandwagon fans are simply too much. How could you possibly even contemplate leaving a close NBA finals game early, like many Heat fans did in Game 6 last year? Yes despite these annoyances, the main thing I hate about the Miami Heat is what they stand for. The Heat and their fan base are emblematic of the growing trend of considering accumulation of valuable property to equate to earned success.
I’m not saying sports aren’t about which team has the better players. On most occasions, the team with more talent wins. Nevertheless, the intangible qualities of team chemistry and toughness are critical factors. The Kentucky men’s basketball team was expected to cruise to a national championship last year, yet a combination of injuries, pettiness, and excessive expectations ended up with them not even qualifying for the NCAA tournament. We witnessed a similar story with the newly formed “Big Three” core of the Heat in their first year, as the trio tried to be too unselfish as they each attempted to adapt to no longer being the single star on their team.
This tumultuous inaugural season was filled with constant vitriol and ridicule from opposing fans, and these fans (myself included) ultimately got what they wanted when the Heat lost the 2011 NBA Finals to the Mavericks. In the aftermath of that collapse, people like myself who had been appalled both at LeBron’s decision to leave Cleveland without informing the team first and the Heat’s repulsively subconscious choice to accept the legitimate role of villain, felt vindicated. We had evidence that assembling the best players wouldn’t be enough to win if those individuals exhibited cockiness and lacked the heart to overcome adversity.
Unfortunately, things have changed drastically since that moment. The Heat have won two straight NBA championships (although the Spurs were an agonizing 28 seconds away from seizing this last one). They even won 27 straight games last year, and though I still think that this perception is patently false, LeBron is looked upon as a clutch player. Now critics like me have to settle for the knowledge that his grace, desire, and ability pale in comparison to Jordan’s. It feels like the war is almost over now, that evil has prevailed. I hope that some teams can manage to vanquish “super teams” like the Heat, but my faith has diminished. I know in my heart that it’s not right that the Heat are winning and spreading the perception that compiling talent is enough to be successful. Still, I know that they are winning, and all I can do is pray that somehow changes will come.