Sunday, June 12, 2011

The Miami Hate

Make no mistake: I couldn't care less what anyone in America thinks of the Miami Heat. For me, the fact that they're almost universally, though still somewhat inexplicably, loathed is part of the fun at this stage. But I can be kind of an asshole.

Still, Bill Plaschke of the L.A. Times makes a really great point -- one that I know a lot of Miami Heat fans have pondered during this entire post-season run.

"Imagine a basketball team whose three biggest stars have sacrificed money and ego to assemble on one team for the sole intent of winning a championship.

Two of those stars' craving for a title was such that they left homes they loved and fans who loved them. The third star made an equally difficult move by stepping aside and welcoming them.

Imagine this collection of players then playing an entire season under a national microscope unmatched in the history of team sports. Every itch is documented, every scratch is scrutinized, every star is questioned about every public act, every day is another chance for them to embarrass or enrage.

But imagine they don't. They endure the media's perfect storm with uncommon dignity and grace. They don't publicly criticize others. They don't publicly fight among themselves. Off the court, they are a model of restraint. On the court, they are an example of unselfish determination, three guys trying to figure out a way to meld their three incredible talents for the good of this team.

Imagine this collection of stifled egos and textbook teammates growing together for nine months until they are within two victories of an NBA title.

And imagine all of America cheering against them.

This is the Miami Heat, and you hate the Heat, and I can't figure out why."

And that's before he gets into the reasons why the Mavericks maybe aren't so deserving of everyone's sudden endorsement, even if it is only by default.

The Los Angeles Times: It's Not Hard To Imagine the Heat as the Good Guys/6.11.11


Luke Weiss said...

His assertion that race has something to do with it is ridiculous. People like Dirk, and recognize that he likely won't have another shot at the title. Everyone knows the heat will be there the next 5 years at least. To suggest race has something to do with the lebron hating is questionable at best, but as I said, I think it is not only questionable, but ridiculous.

I like lebron though. And I am a knick fan. I just like Dirk more.

Chez said...

I think the race argument is absurd, too. But his other points are spot-on.

Anonymous said...

If your using Bill Plaschke to argue a point...hell any modern day wannabe Grantland Rice inspired idiot, your shooting yourself in the foot.

Seriously...what "points" did Billy get right?

As a fan of the Wizards, I will gladly tell you why I am pulling for the Mavs....

1- Mark Cuban not only has been good for Dallas, taking historically the WORST team in North American sports and turning them into a successful franchise, he pissed off a lot of the owners and David Stern in the process. Owners like Donald Sterling...which alone should make people like Cuban.

2- Even before he left the Cavs, I was sick and tired of the praise lauded on Lebron James. At least now he has no excuse for not being clutch. The near constant attempts by the sports media to call him the next MJ is insane. He has not done a damn thing. As a Heat fan, can you honestly say that in the 4th quarter, you want Lebron to have the ball? He is averaging TWO points in the 4th quarter this series! He is, for all the hype, commercials, and PR blitz, overrated.

3- Florida, outside of college football, is a close second to only California as having shittiest fans in sports. The Rays have to give away American League finals tickets, the Jaguars on the moving block if the owners get their way, and even the Dolphins regularly black out games. The Panthers average 3000 viewers per home game this season. That is less than the average for infomercials at the same time, in the same region. Outside of Dwayne Wade and Lebron James, the average Heat "fan" can't list another player, including Bosh.

So yeah...I guess I get annoyed hearing from super great "fans" of a team telling everyone how great their team is...when prior to them making the finals or getting really good, they have never been mentioned by the person in any context. That alone makes me hope the Heat loose so that next year, we don't have to hear anything about them until the end of the next NBA playoffs.

Anonymous said...

Are they?

It's all a matter of perception, and this guy doesn't know his elbow from his a-hole. They didn't just leave there homes, fans, etc...

First of all, they travel most of the year, home is a state of mind, as well as location. They didn't give up all that much money because 18 mil a year is plenty, plus the endorsements will make up for any more they could've gotten.

Bottom line, they colluded, and well before "the decision." In fact, they probably worked it out over a year prior, easily explained considering the contract extension signed by Wade to coincide with Bosh and James' free agency.

As a pseudo-expert on D-bags, perhaps as a Miami-an, you choose to give them a pass, but many won't.

e said...

I don't really care, but the article hits it. There were "miss-steps", but overall not much wrong with what Lebron/Bosh/Wade did. Would you rather have him be Kevin Garnett, wasting away for years before being rescued onto a legit team...

And yea, the race thing was not useful, and all I could think when I read it is "you just gave them the easy line to dismiss your entire article."

Chez said...

Loving the anonymous indignation. It's a beautiful thing.

First Anon -- it's "you're," not "your" and "lose" not "loose." Everything you say goes out the window when you have a the grammar of a fourth grader.

Second Anon -- that's such horseshit about how the players "colluded," and anyone who makes that tired argument also immediately loses to some extent. Three players -- as opposed to a group of owners for once -- made the decision to work together in an effort to win. That's not collusion in the traditionally nefarious sense; it's players taking control of their own destiny for a change.

As for "The Decision," yeah, everyone knows it was a grotesque spectacle -- but are you sure that all of that was LeBron's doing? Do you really not think the sports media -- like, say, ESPN -- didn't have a hand in trying to play up a huge free agent move to their advantage? They created an hour-long narcissism-fest starring LeBron because they knew people would watch and it would make a lot of money. I'm honestly not sure LeBron gave a shit either way.

Mart said...

I never understood the hate for Miami, seem like good guys on and off court. I was gonna say it don't look good for the home team... but actually it is over.

em said...

Wow. Well Dallas deserved that win coming out as hard as they did tonight, I gotta say. I definitely do see how ESPN, et al had a hand in the Decision, but eh. I don't know. Something about someone who gives himself a nickname really kinda kills it for me. My bf said it was gonna be Dallas' year, but I have no doubt Miami will come back better next year. Hopefully not better than my preferred team, but eh.

John Foley said...

I found the Decision to be an absurd display of ego of dignity. Is that all LeBron's fault? No. But he's also not blameless. It was vulgar, and the buck has to stop with James on that one. Do I think he "colluded?" No, I think that's silly. I don't think he colluded and I don't think he did anything wrong. As a sports fan, however, I would have liked to see King James build his own dynasty instead of trying to ride Wade's coattails. The true greats want to beat everyone and exert their will on the league. James opted to play with a proven winner instead. Not illegal, and not wrong exactly, but not as admirable as doing it on his own.
The Decision was smarmy, and their bizarre "victory party" the next day was ludicrous. It's very easy to see why people rooted against the Heat. They placed a target on their backs with such silly showoff actions. The way to silence their critics would have been to win it all. They couldn't do it. They couldn't win an elimination game on their home court, and the supposed Greatest Player on Earth had another humdrum showing when his team needed it most.
Also, Bill Plaschke is a horrible excuse for a sports columnist.
Anyway that's just my opinion.

SnortyCat said...

I don't 'hate' the Heat. But I cheered against them. Why? Well, I've found LeBron James to be arrogant, entitled and whiney for years. He's not the only athlete I feel that way about, and I don't lose sleep when the guy wins. But if it's LeBron against a team I'm generally indifferent to (like the Mavs), I'll cheer against LeBron.

Honestly, I didn't really have a problem with him leaving Cleveland (he'd put in his time and fulfilled his contract), but The Decision was obnoxious and lame. And if I were a Cavs fan, I'd be annoyed that James left after saying this:

"I got a goal, and it's a huge goal, and that's to bring an NBA championship here to Cleveland. And I won't stop until I get it."

I think I'd feel insulted and abandoned if I was a Cavs fan, which quite fortunately I'm not.

But for me, I choose not to cheer for LeBron because I find him to be an immature jagoff. Again, I don't hate the guy-- but I'd rather the Mavs win than the Heat.

One more quick note-- Chez, good for you for cheering on your team (that seriously wasn't sarcastic-- kudos for standing by your team), and I'm quite certain that the Heat will win multiple titles in the next few years. But folks are also allowed to kid you for having egg on your face for smugly tweeting about how sure you were that the Heat would win. You were cocky in your pro-Heat tweets, just as LBJ, Wade and co. were cocky all year long. When all's even, people generally cheer against cockiness.

JC said...

People who follow sports closely don't like Lebron because they see how supremely talented he is - arguably the most skilled basketball player to ever live (as even Scottie Pippen has suggested) - yet he seems to lack the will to harness those talents and commit himself to winning the way Jordan and Kobe did. His heart seems to be more that of Vince Carter than Jordan or Kobe. We all wanted him to be the latter, but with his performance last year against the Celtics, then his decision that he needed to have two superstars by his side rather than helping management in Cleveland build a team organically around him (as opposed to around a three-headed group of relative co-equals), he proved to our dismay that he was the former.

Add to that the debacle that was the Decision and you've got the end result of a lot of disillusioned people who discovered that Lebron wasn't who we thought, wanted, or projected him to be.

You're right, in the end the Decision was nothing worse than an immature 25 year old being an immature 25 year old. And maybe we will forgive him in time, but not this season. When he's 27 or 29 or 31 or whatever, and he's got a title or two to his name and he's come through in the 4th quarter of just one pivotal game, and it seems that he's maximized the gifts that we all wish WE had, then we'll forgive him.

The Bacon said...

Don't be so bummed out was fixed just like the other NBA playoff series.

If the league wanted the Heat to win, they would have.

The league isn't happy about the way Lebron left Cleveland and made an ass out of himself (and the league for that matter.)

He may one day be allowed to win a championship, but it wasn't this year.

Jody said...

I don't necessarily hate the heat, but I was hoping Dallas would win. I hate the NBA with the burning passion of 1000 suns, but jumped on the Dallas bandwagon when SportCenter showed James and Wade making fun of Dirk being sick (coughing) while they were walking out of the tunnel. That's simply classless and there's no excuse for such behavior. Additionally, I never held it against James for leaving. He did his time and honored his contract with Cleveland. Again, I believe it was narcissistic and classless to devote an entire show on ESPN for 'the decision.' You aren't Jordan and never will be, at least until you lead your team to 4 or more championships.

Anonymous said...

My favorite part is the bit about the trio giving up money and ego for lofty altruistic goals!! That's a hoot - I'd bet all three of them were LTAS as they drove their Ferrarris to their private island homes.

The other kinda funny, but kinda sad, thing is the blogmaster comment above (itself rather indignant) that the trio's teaming up (as opposed to "collusion") was them taking control of their own destinies - but the vulgar spectacle by which they announced this heroic decision was not any reflection on them because thy succumbed to the control of ESPN. Yeah, sure. Whatever.

Chez said...

Aw, that's precious. More surly commentary from the ever-popular anonymous.

The Bacon said...

Here's why America hates the Heat

Chez said...

Yup. Because he's certainly the first professional sports star to be cocky. He's breaking real ground there.

The Bacon said...

It's about degree Chez....and I would say he/they are definitely the first to take it to that degree.

Most signings, even for superstars, are a press conference where the athlete makes a statement and takes press questions from behind a podium.

Lebron did break ground. Show me another one like this and I'll eat my words. Show me another professional athlete predicting 8 championships and saying it will be easy. (he at least should have checked with the commissioners office to see who the champion would be before he said that.)

lupe said...

but chez... these anons are dropping pretty strong points, as well as several other commenters. you dismissing these remarks based on their anonymous status or the fact that they mistook "you're" for "your" is pretty weak.

Chez said...

Of course it was spectacle -- and it was overdone. But look at boxing; nobody gave Muhammad Ali crap when he ranted about how he was the greatest or how he was going to be the greatest. Yeah, the introduction was over-the-top, but since that moment there's been no drama on the court, no bullshit infighting, just a pretty good amount of focus. LeBron really screwed up in the finals and he's now rightfully eating a little humble pie because of it. But the number of people who just automatically jumped all over his ass from day one for leaving Cleveland(!) for Miami(!!!) -- an obvious career and status move for somebody like Bron -- was just silly. Sorry, but once again, sports these days are all about ego; LeBron and the Heat's early hubris only should've surprised you if you'd just returned from 15 years on the International Space Station.

Chez said...

I think I've made myself about as clear as I'm going to, Lupe. The arguments seem to be that a) LeBron is an egomaniac, b) Miami doesn't deserve to win because its fans suck, and c) the Wade/LeBron/Bosh deal was underhanded and unfair.

Answers: Most sports stars these days are rich egomaniacs; a lot of Miami fans do suck but that doesn't mean the ones who show a lot of support and love deserve to get shafted; bullshit, they did something management has done for years.

Fella said...

Nobody gave Ali crap? Seriously? Ali is now remembered fondly and treated as a national teddy bear, but at the time a good chunk of the country hated him. You think a smack-talking, draft-dodging black guy with a Muslim name was universally popular?

Also, I might respect LeBron a tad more if he did something 1% as ballsy as Ali's draft refusal.

And obviously most sports stars these days are rich egomaniacs. That's why it's fun to cheer for the humble ones (Dirk, Durant, Nash, etc.) and against the ones whose egos dwarf everyone those of everyone else (LeBron).

namron said...

To Anonymous 8:47 from one of Florida's shittiest fans:

I often do not attend NFL, NBA, and NHL events from November to May because I also have the choice of fishing, the beach, golf, tennis, yard work, or hanging out at the backyard pool with my family. Were I a residence of the village of Cousinfuck, in Ohio, West Virginia, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Indiana,Wisconsin, New York, or some other God-forsaken winter state, those options would be unavaialble to me. Your dissatisfaction with your own geography is not a very good excuse for the vitriol expressed to the Heat or its players, other than James, and to its fans.

Chez said...

Comment of the Week for Namron. That's why everybody gives LA shit, too -- there are a lot of things to do there besides gather in the cold to watch your crappy team lose.

Fella, I suppose time will tell then, won't it?

John Foley said...

Meant to write "ego over dignity" but I didn't proofread.

Fella said...

Yes, absolutely, time will tell. In thirty years this season may be forgotten or considered just a minor speedbump in LeBron's career. Maybe LeBron will learn from it and turn himself around and shed the 'arrogant' and 'choker' labels-- for years many thought Jordan was simply a dominant scorer who couldn't win a title, and he obviously proved them wrong. Perhaps LeBron will do the same.

But in the present, he's going to be cheered against and widely considered to be an arrogant choker. And many people enjoyed watching him lose. This article was written wondering why the Heat are disliked now, or during the just-completed NBA Finals, not in the near or distant future.

Actual Name said...

Wait-- you slam a guy for a your/you're error and then want to make out with Namron despite his multiple spelling/grammatical errors?

Just makes the your/you're comment look even weaker. Calling out mistakes made by people you disagree with but not those on your side is lame, no matter what city or state you may be a 'residence' of.

Chez said...

"Residence" is a typo, and I know Namron knows the difference because he's a regular commenter. Screwing up "you're" and "your" more than once means you don't know the difference.

Josh said...

No, just ... no. Plaschke's article is only barely defensible if you replace "NBA Championship" with "cure for cancer." For an athlete, winning a title is a personal pursuit that ties in with one's legacy; the particular team/city for which they play while pursuing the title gets to come along for the ride. Playing for his hometown while pursuing that championship was part of the LeBron narrative--self-constructed and otherwise. Then he very publicly dumped those fans for an easier situation. It comes down to the fact that LeBron would rather take the easy route to win "not six, or seven, or eight" but even more championships than that, rather than fewer championships for the crowd he endlessly and publicly said he identified with, and for whom he would never stop working until he had delivered a title.

Sure, it's a totally acceptable business move. It was also incredibly tasteless, vulgar, and self-centered--and no, he doesn't get a pass. Why should he get a pass for that just because other outlets also benefited financially? The whole idea for 'The Decision' came from camp LeBron, not ESPN. Sure, lots of athletes are egomaniacal; those tend to be the ones most people dislike. We're not watching robots, we're watching people. In this case, we're watching an insanely talented (which is not to say great) player who decided to take the easy way out, showed himself to be afraid of the spotlight in the biggest moments, and in the process tarnished his legacy.

So, in closing, fuck LeBron. The fact that he's playing for Miami now is incidental (though GODDAMN did that team's management screw the pooch with that pep rally--the punchline to a never-ending number of jokes).

Luke Weiss said...

Jordan was 28 when he won his first championship. Lebron is only 26. He has plenty of time to prove his greatness. But this first major test was an utter failure.
However, Jordan's numbers in his first finals:
31.2 points on 56% shooting from the field, 11.4 assists, 6.6 rebounds, 2.8 steals and 1.4 blocks

Hubris is a product of youth, let's see how Lebron grows up.

and everyone in this comment thread ought to stop throwing their poop at each other.

Anonymous said...

As the anonymous that screwed up "your/you're", I want to personally apologize to you Chez.

I furthermore want to apologize for noticing the utter hilarity of a member of the sports media implying that 1) an entire team is a group of thugs because two of them were once in trouble with the law (because we know all members of the media never get in trouble with the law or treat their families like shit), 2) that Mark Cuban bullies officials (vice voicing what most NBA fans and the feds later discovered -NBA officials were rigging games), or 3) that it makes no sense that Americans would identify with a hard working immigrant finding success on our shores. Obviously Bill Plaschke is a serious journalist and not some hack that attempts to write controversial crap to drive up comments and views (like causally implying that anyone who points out that Lebron doesn't deserve the accolades showered at his feet is racist).

Ref said...

SOME of us don't like the probability that the "collusion" will always favor Miami, LA, and NY City over other cities. Maybe that's a good thing, and eventually only such places will have NBA teams, leaving the rest of us to find something useful to do in the winter. It can be like the old Soviet hockey league, in which almost every rising young star found himself turned into a "lieutenant" and playing for Red Army Moscow.

Chez said...

It's staggering that this relatively unimportant topic has elicited this much back-and-forth.

Ref said...

It's the emotion of it, Chez, which is sort of what following a pro sports team is about. It's not a logical process. Hey, I understand the motivation for LeBron. He worked in Cleveland for several years, watching other teams win while his never could figure out how to get him any help. He saw Boston put together their "big three" and thought maybe he could do the same thing by a different technique, in a better place to live. Bottom line is he probably would have done it without much complaint if he'd just done it with some humility.

Anonymous said...

I get this guys take on why he/people hate LeBron so much...

Thought I'd share it with you all.

Peace out,