I wasn’t ready to jump on the Miami bandwagon. I didn’t want this. Not yet. Not this soon. When we found out the Miami Heat were crying in the locker room after a regular season loss, there was a part of me that was happy. Not because we could make fun of them — I’m a crier myself, so tears are cool with me — but because it was supposed to mean that they didn’t have it figured out yet.

We knew that the Heat are going to win and win a lot, but they’re three wins away from the title in their first season together. After flipping the NBA upside down in a single offseason, I wanted them to need more time to learn how to play together. More time to learn how to be great. I wanted Derrick Rose and and Tom Thibodeau to prove that humble but hardworking triumphs. I wanted the hometown kid who was still repping his hometown to win out.

Today, I don’t know who I’m rooting for anymore. I don’t know what I want. In the course of one game — one half is probably a more accurate description — I went from desperately wanting Dirk Nowitzki to get another step closer in his quest for a ring, to smiling, laughing and shaking my head in amusement as I watched the show that LeBron James and Dwyane Wade gave their home crowd.

Prior to the tip off of Game 1, it felt as though everyone had been resigned to the fact that the Heat were going to win the championship. Like me, most of those people were hoping they would be wrong and that the Mavs would prevail. Now? I’m not sure. I’ve spoken to a few people who experienced the same quiet, but bold shift that I did last night. It’s pretty simple, really.

How can you argue against LeBron James when he’s been the best basketball player in the playoffs? You can love him, hate him, argue against his loyalty, question his legacy and absolutely despise his arrogance and comfort level now that he’s in Miami with Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh at his sides. That doesn’t matter. If you’re a fan of basketball, you can’t hate LeBron’s game. You just can’t. You don’t have to like the player, but you can’t hate his game. Those three-pointers to finish the third quarter, the dunk that was directed at every single one of us who doubted, the defense that finally has LeBron playing like the player we all wanted him to be?

It’s glorious. No hyperbole. I mean that. It sounds crazy when I was so against the Heat starting their reign this season, but dammit, they are that good. And they should be. This isn’t about their “big five” and the two starters who barely combine to average a handful of points per game. It’s not about their bench or the horrendous showing from Mike Bibby in this postseason. It’s not about Juwan Howard or James Jones or Eddie House either. This is about LeBron James and Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh.

They wanted this and they got it. They got the pressure, the hate and the hype.

LeBron broke Cleveland’s heart when he made the ill-advised decision to do “The Decision.” As a result, he’s spent the duration of this season being thrown under the bus by fans and media alike. Deservedly or not, despite the drama, he’s got his first Finals victory down and stands three wins away from hoisting the trophy. He’s been the best basketball player on the planet for a while, simultaneously silencing his critics and making Scottie Pippen swoon.

While there were times when LeBron made it easy to root for his opponent, it’s always been easy to root for Dwyane Wade. A low-key superstar without a ton of handlers and with time to talk every time he’s ever come through town, Wade is on that list of guys who are a million times more impressive to watch up-close in person than on television. Seeing him standing in the centre of the Heat’s pre-game huddle last night, hearing him imploring his guys to give their all — “Don’t say I wish I woulda!” — all of the memories of Wade as one of the good guys came flooding back.

Speaking of good guys, to me, Chris Bosh can’t ever be thought of as anything else. Covering Chris for two seasons here in Toronto, there are not many bad things to say about him. He’s thoughtful and professional. He shows up. To consider him as a bad guy is laughable. After failing to make it out of the first round with the Raptors, Chris recognized that he wasn’t going to be able to lead a team to a championship in Toronto and he made the decision to align himself with the best to get to the top. Not many can argue with that decision on the morning after he posted 19 and nine in his first-ever Finals game, turning the “third-wheel” descriptor into a pretty good thing.

Regardless of what we want and despite what we think, each of the Big Three is exactly where he had hoped to be. Legacies and egos be damned, they’re three wins away from being champions. They did it differently and they’ve owned their choices with an awareness that we may not ever fully understand because we’re not the ones with the options, talent and pressures that they have had as NBA superstars. If this were a choose-your-own-adventure novel, you better believe I would have chosen a different path, but that’s the beauty in this whole situation: This twisting, turning action-packed thriller isn’t our story. It’s theirs.

Comments (48)

  1. Great argument Holly… If you love basketball, then you should appreciate what LeBron has done throughout the playoffs. As much as we may loathe him here & there, he’s still one of the best players to ever step on the court and we are “witnessing” right now. Sure, he let Cleveland down, but he gave it an adequate shot before moving onto Miami. Don’t hate… enjoy!

  2. Greatly written, but I couldn’t disagree more.

    A mini all star team is 3 wins a way from a championship and that is nothing they should be proud of. They are going to force every team to also increase their star power, and the league will become something I won’t watch.

    I hope they don’t win. Ever.

    That way stars aren’t inclined to pull a decision every year.

    They will win, and that sucks for us as fans.

  3. @Cory “An adequate shot”? Yes, that is the pinnacle of achievement – giving a decent enough effort. I will never forget Game 5, and he’ll always be a quitter to me – always always always.

    It’s real easy to go all-out and kick everyone’s ass as a front-runner.

  4. Cheering for the Heat would mean cheering against the Mavs….which would mean you have no soul.

  5. @Rafael I don’t like the fact they all signed as free agents & joined up either. Dan Patrick was making the argument this morning that many of the previous dynasties (e.g. Celtics) made their teams by trading players – supposedly the “right way”. I do agree that this is the better way to go about it as well – you have to give to receive – although the Gasol trade kinda throws that out the window…

    @Brian LeBron did quit and that won’t be forgotten regardless of what he does from this point forward.

    To both – my argument isn’t so much in support of LeBron the person or even jumping on his bandwagon personally. He is an amazing athlete and a uber-talented basketball player – that is the part we should enjoy.

  6. I’m a huge fan of this blog but you can’t seriously call yourself a basketball fan and cheer for The Heat. Last time I checked, basketball was a team sport. The Miami Heat represent everything wrong with the NBA.

    Are you a serious writer? Seems like all your articles are mainly driven or based on emotions… which results in a lot of bias. Not saying journalists/writers/bloggers should write boring, emotionless, pieces but keep in mind that this blog is about basketball, not YOUR emotions/thoughts on basketball.

  7. I’m not sure if I’m lying to myself or not, but I still don’t like LeBron’s game. At least I don’t think I do. I probably don’t know enough to see all the skill in his game. I was the same way with Shaq in his heyday. I figured, okay, he’s bigger and stronger and faster/quicker than everybody — whoop-de-doo.

    This makes me think of his drive for the dunk late in the game. Was there even a crossover? It was like he said, “Okay, I feel like dribbling past this guy and dunking now.” Impressive dunk/quickness/acceleration? All — in spades. Entertaining? Ehhh…..

    I obviously don’t know what I’m talking about.

  8. @Andrew_S

    That’s like saying “Ok, the Bugatti Veyron Super Sport is the fastest car in the world – whoop-de-doo.”

    It’s LeBron’s physical traits that make him so much fun to watch.

    Also, can someone explain to me – because I still don’t understand – why the Big 3 joining forces was bad for the NBA? I wasn’t aware that record ratings for the league would be so detrimental.

    I see so much blind hate/jealousy when it comes to this team. I could understand if this were baseball – where there’s no salary cap – and the Yankees went out and signed Pujols and Jose Bautista to join up with A-Rod, but the NBA has a cap. So basically the general consensus is the Heat ruined the NBA…by doing something any other team in the NBA could’ve done? I don’t get it.

  9. you can’t make the argument that superstars joining up is bad for the league without throwing out almost every championship ever. they chose their path rather than a GM or owner trading people like playing cards. i think it’s rad they did it. nobody gave the celtics so much trouble for their big three. why, because they were traded for? it’s more fair when an owner aligns the talent rather than the talent choosing where it wants to work and who it wants to work with?
    if you play music in a band, wouldn’t you want to choose who to be in a band with, rather than have a record label construct your band like backstreet boys?
    if you could choose to work with your friends where you want and be successful wouldn’t you?

    it’s fine if you don’t like lebron, wade, or bosh. i just feel like people make dumb arguments for why they don’t like them instead of just saying ‘i straight up don’t like his personality’ or whatever.

  10. Casey -

    Record ratings – RIGHT NOW. But here is what the next few seasons are looking like:

    Knicks get one more superstar to go to their team. Now they have a big three

    ORL gets Chris Paul or Dwight goes to a stacked team. Another big three-four

    If the league becomes dominated in the next few years by these kinds of teams, no one will watch it anymore. It’s far less competitive this way.

  11. Aaron,

    Seriously? What team in the last decade resembles this Heat team? Three SUPERSTARS in their prime. Not like the celtics, who are certainly not a their peaks. But these guys, who all carried their own teams a year ago, now on the same team. If you can name me another team with that kind of star power I will be shocked.

    Maybe one-two superstars (Shaq-Kobe) but nothing on this level.

  12. This is such devil’s advocate horseshit. You needed an angle. You can’t truly believe this stuff. If you do, I can’t take your opinion seriously anymore. And it’s not even so much about basketball as it is life. Anyone who wasn’t born in South Florida, but enjoys watching this team be victorious? Not someone I could be friends with. Obviously my opinion doesn’t matter, just saying, think about what this says about you.

  13. Well you do realize it makes a stronger case to reduce the number of team to, say, 20? And let only 8 get in the playoffs. It’s like letting go of all rotation players 9 through 12 and making rotation players work even harder for their minutes because guys like Ronnie Brewer won’t be 7th on the rotation but more likely 9th or 10th. And even starters will fear for their minutes and fight even harder in games/practices to preserve them.

    I’m pretty sure it would be a hell lot more competitive.

  14. Talk about bad for the NBA. Losing teams because Superstars are taking the easy way out?

    Screw the fans in Minnesota or Memphis. Their markets aren’t strong enough and we need more HEAT.

    That is a quick way for the NBA to lose revenue. Ain’t happening.

  15. @Rafael

    The NBA already has the worst parity of any of the 4 major sports. How many teams have won a title since 1980? Lakers, Celtics, 76ers, Spurs, Rockets, Bulls, Heat, Pistons…am I missing anyone? So honestly, how would that be any different than what’s already happening?

  16. Very nicely written piece. Others have already quite well pointed out the problem of emphasizing star power over teamplay and how that may bode ill for the league. I’ll also add the socio-economic factor of what LeBron James and the Heat represent. They represent everything that is wrong with America today. The message they send is that individual talent and ego trumps anything else if you want to succeed in life. They celebrate the myth of upward mobility that keeps the poor poor in the U.S.

    This may sound like theoretical liberal hogwash, but I can tell you from real experience that there are tons of inner-city kids who consider LeBron to be their ultimate hero and aspiration. Either to be him or to marry him. I’ve had conversations with kids who refused to practice defense because of what Iverson said about practice.

    The league was reborn on stars and this message is nothing new, but it has reached a new intensity with LeBron and it is problematic, to say the least.

    Also, his game is kind of ugly and ungainly. He may be the best, but he’s not that fun to watch compared to other stars, at least in my eyes. He looks like a linebacker playing basketball.

  17. @ Rafael

    Like Casey said, I don’t really get it either about the “all teams will do that now”. Remember it was really difficult for the Heat to pull that one out. You have to find a way to clear a lot a salary cap AND convince the stars they will a have a decent support cast. See already what happened with the Knicks, how difficult it was to bring Melo and how it turned out.

    Not many people outside Riley could pull that out… And with the new CBA ? Forget it !

    Plus there will always be teams focusing on system, team chemistry, internal development (think Spurs). It’s really not the first time major players joined a team to form a super power combo. It never killed the NBA…

    @Andrew_S

    It’s not just the combination speed and strenght of Lebron, it’s also the skills. This guy can guard nearly anybody, from a fast point guard to a power forward. Three point shooting ? Check. Court vision ? Check. Nice passing ? Check.

    I think the less iso system we see with Lebron the better you see how great he is. It’s a long way to go but I think Scottie wasn’t crazy with his latest statement. I hate the guy but boy he’s a hell of a player !

  18. I think I’ve finally figured out why I hate the Heat. I’ve hated them ever since they joined up this summer, and although I really disliked the way they came together, (essentially playing with the emotions and time of all the teams involved despite it already being predetermined), and I can’t stand Bosh and Lebron’s diva act (crying in the locker room, passive-aggressive shots at Spoelstra, etc.) neither of those were the real reason.

    The real reason is because I can’t stand it when people root for a player, not a team. Every so-called Cavs fan who became a Heat fan over this summer, and justified it with “I’m just a fan of Lebron’s, I’ll support him no matter what” is clearly not a fan of the Heat and doesn’t deserve to call themselves as such. I honestly believe that being a fan means supporting your team for life, through the good times and bad, and falsely claiming to be a supporter of a team is disrespectful to the franchise and its real supporters. Fans of Lebron or Chris Bosh should call themselves just that- fans of Lebron or Chris Bosh, not fans of the Miami Heat. If I was a Heat fan I would be insulted to have people who can desert a team so easily call themselves fans of my team.
    And, although this is going to sound kind of weird, the Heat players are in a way bandwagoners themselves. Bosh, not so much- he’s not from Toronto, never claimed absolute loyalty to the team, never promised to bring championships to the Raps. But Lebron? After all the “putting Akron on the map” bullshit, the Chosen One stuff, the promises not to go ring chasing and to bring a championship to Cleveland? He pretty much fucked the city of Cleveland and the team that, in a sense, raised him so he himself could take the easy route to glory. Does anyone believe Lebron wouldn’t have won a championship in his career had he stayed in Cleveland? I sure as hell don’t. He didn’t really quit in game 5, he quit when he decided to hold that nationally-televised sodomy of the Cavaliers franchise. I wish I could be rooting for Lebron and the Cavs these playoffs because, frankly, he is by far the best player and the world and definitely deserves a ring. Just not like this.
    I realize that was long as hell but I kind of just wanted to voice my feelings about them.

  19. rafael,

    the celtics, lakers, and bulls of old all had multiple all-stars or mutiple hall-of-famers.

    the modern celtics big three are all referred to as future hall-of-famers, as well. when they won the championship they were similar in age to the heat stars.

    the heat have two of the best in the nba and an all-star. most teams that win championships have at least two elite stars.

  20. I still fail to see why LeBron is so hated. Anyone who plays basketball on any level knows that the game is more fun when you play with better players. Also, although its execution was very poor I think that LeBron’s heart was in a good place with “the decision”. It is always overlooked that the decision did generate over 2 million dollars for charity.

  21. That “charity” shit is not even worth discussing. No one believes that. And you don’t think it made LBJ more than $2m? please.

    Which team you are rooting for in this series just says so much about what you value as a person, plain and simple.

  22. @adam

    i’m curious what you think rooting for each team says about a person?

    if you like the heat, you don’t like team basketball? the heat had more assists than the mavs last night.

  23. @adam

    what is says about me, is that i value someone taking their life/destiny into their own hands rather than being a martyr for what fans/sports owners want.

    lebron is a real person. if he was unhappy playing in cleveland good for him for being true to himself and what he wanted. he tried and tried and tried again in cleveland, for an owner who appreciated him enough to say awful things and basically curse him after he left. sure the decision was a bad way to break up with someone. but- to continue relationship analogy- i don’t wanna date someone that only wishes me well as a person if we’re on the same team and wishes me cursed if not- whether or not things end badly.

    he played on the team for seven years and was never surrounded by adequate talent. he chose to follow his heart and play with his friends and try to win regardless of what people thought. i wish more people had the guts to make the ballsy/unsafe move like he did

  24. @adam

    It’s hilarious that you are trying to create a moral argument out of a basketball game. There is so much wrong with your simple statement that I can’t even begin to point out how much of an idiot you must be. I hope you enjoy watching the Heat take the title for the next 6 years as much as I will.

  25. Also, on fans based on players VS teams:

    Who cares. People enjoy sports for different things. I am a Heat fan because LeBron came over and him and DWade dominate. Am I fair weather fan? Dunno, don’t care. Suck it up.

  26. @ray

    well said.

    i was too young to appreciate bird, johnson, dr. j etc… i just feel lucky to get to watch all the modern greats. lebron is one of the best and if you’re too busy hating on him, you’re missing some rad talent/basketball.

  27. @ray

    For some reason it always seems to be the less knowledgeable, more apathetic fans that are in the ‘fair-weather’ category. It’s a shame that you’ll never know how good it feels to see a team that’s really a part of you win. Enjoy watching the daily zap on nba.com and wearing your 10 dollar knock-off Lebron jersey. Hope you get laughed at every time you try to talk basketball because you know nothing about basketball before 2005.

  28. ray: Nope, you’re not a fair weather fan. You’re just not a fan, period. I’m sure you appreciate the game of basketball on your own level, and no one is trying to take that away from you. It’s just not the same as having a team. I think it’s a cynical and cold prism through which to watch sports, but more power to you.
    Just know that whatever enjoyment you derive from watching the flavor of the month every year, it will never be the same as being a fan and rooting for a team. I’m in my late 20s, so I grew up IDOLIZING Michael Jordan. Greatest Ever, no contest. Doesn’t mean I’m a Bulls fan.

    aaron: you’re right. LeBron James is a good and admirable person. Hope my kids turn out just like him.

  29. @adam

    well said, fans of Lebron are fans of Lebron plain and simple. Same goes for anyone who supports a player regardless of team. No need to pretend you support the team, just come out and say that you’re a bandwagoner

  30. i have to say, that the heat aren’t my favorite team. i live in portland and the blazers are my favorite team. i watched all their games and lots of other games around the league. if your team isn’t in the playoffs, it’s not as interesting if you don’t get behind somebody. that doesn’t make you a bandwagoner.
    kids could do worse than end up like lebron. he’s a successful athlete/businessman from a small town that married his highschool sweetheart and made a bunch of money doing something he loves.

    i think his going to the heat- sans ‘the decision’ is a pretty cool example to be honest.

    you work at taco bell and have an opportunity for a better job and to work with your friends elsewhere…stay at taco bell cause someone else wants you to? or cause it’s safe? i think it’s rad that he did the unprecedented and followed his heart.

  31. I don’t think its possible to watch a basketball game and not root for one team over another. As a Raptors fan I’ve had to pick a team to root for almost every year when the playoffs come around. I have no personal connection to either the mavs or the heat but to me the heat play a more entertaining brand of basketball. It concerns me that making this choice can offend so many people.

  32. I usually tend to disagree with you, but this is exactly what happened to me, but instead of one game, it has taken steps each series this playoff run. Funny reading my posts from Round 1 to now, the hate is not in my writings anymore.

  33. Can’t agree with you, Aaron.

    Quitting Taco Bell because you have an opportunity for a better job and to work with your friends elsewhere is totally cool.
    But… when you’re the best young chef in North America and you get hired by the only restaurant in your hometown –Taco Bell– and you publicly promise that you’re going to give back to your troubled community and won’t leave until you make Taco Bell the best restaurant in the world, and then hold a press conference to announce you’re going back on everything you said because you can make better tacos at Del Taco because they already have a great chef there you can work with… well.. that’s not cool.

    Man. Now I have a craving for Del Taco.

  34. If you’ve ever played pick-up basketball you know it’s an unwritten rule that all the best players don’t hop on one team and run roughshod over everyone else. It’s not fun, it’s not competitive, and it’s not basketball. It’s the best player clowning everyone else for their own ego and amusement.

    This is what the Heat did, and it’s why people don’t like them.

  35. @brian

    why was it okay when the celtics got their big three together?

    @manale

    what if you try your best to make taco bell the best for 7 years, and the owners won’t buy you the ingredients to make the best taco? hahahaha
    funny enough there’s a guy at this place down the street at king burrito. he always tells me about these sauces he wants to make, but the owner won’t pay for the peanuts for the peanut sauce. he might have to go where the peanuts are. i’ll miss him if he does, but the world will have tastier burrito sauces. i hope he teams up with his best friend and makes the best burritos in the world- for him and for burritos!!!
    :)

  36. I Absolutely 100% agree with Aaronn and Casey, I’ve been saying these things all year and what I have come to realize is all the ‘Hate for the Heat’ is deeper than just the decision and the concert they had the next day. It’s because people fear what the Miami Heat are capable of and that’s winning multiple championships in the next few years and of course I understand why people automatically go against them but to bring up silly arguments such as “Their not a true team”, “This is not good for the NBA” is ridiculous and needs to come to an end.

    I can tell most of you don’t watch when Miami plays therefore just basing your arguments on what everyone else want to hear. The Miami Heat do play TEAM BASKETBALL and if any of you know basketball, scoring points is not everything. Even though the Heatles do avg around 65ppg, they consistently receive help from their team that does not show up on the stat sheet. Joell Anthony has been huge for them with his defense around the rim, Bibby/Juwan with their experience, Haslem/Miller/Chalmers/Jones (who we have not seen of late) with their energy and scoring off the bench and the rest of the players showing their support after every big play on the bench.

    I don’t know last time I checked the Big 3 have 12 other guys in the locker room – but all you guys tend to notice is what Bron/Bosh/Wade are doing picking at them for their every fault acting like their perfect. Not every team is San Antonio where 8 guys are in double digits every night, there’s something called diversity, which is apparent in the NBA today which is good for fans because people have different likes/dislikes.

    And for the record I am a Heat fan and been one since July 8th, 2010 and Ironically my three favorite players before then in chronological order was Lebron/Wade/Bosh. And if you think I’m a “bandwagoner” then check yourself. How many of you would be Laker, OKC or Orlando fans just to name a few if Kobe, Durant and Dwight left their respective teams. YA NONE and don’t give me that bs ideology of but he’s retiring a this or that.

    Don’t get me wrong, I believe Lebron handled the decision poorly and brought race into it when it didn’t need to be but when we live in a world where criticizing him for making the decision that was best for him and his family is wrong then we live in a pretty fucked up world.

    Oh yeah sorry for the long post but I’ll end it off like this, to any of you who can name a player who single handedly helped his team win a championship (which you wont), I’ll voluntarily go streaking in the middle of the night. Good luck haaaaaaaaaaaaa.

  37. you can’t be a fan of a player and still be an nba fan ? what is the fucking point then? We’re all here to watch great players do their thing and be amazing. It’s exciting, and interesting, and fun to watch.

    The notion that someone is fake or not a real fan because they like a player rather than a team is ludicrous and arrogant. Enjoy the NBA your own way and stop being so ridiculously judgmental.

  38. Also, a lot of the “fear” in this thread is just speculation. The premise is a slippery slope argument, that if the Heat are successful because all the stars grouped up, that other teams/stars will do it too and small markets will suffer.

    Well, not necessarily. It’s far, far, far, too early to say how this will play out. Wait and see before you cry the sky is falling.

  39. well, it just makes me happy when the heaters get upset and start crying about team basketball. If you ppl knows so much about basketball, be a pro player and beat the heat, if you cant, just sit back and watch your team trying to do it for you? if even that fails? well, suck it up then.

  40. Well written, Holly.

    I myself can not bring myself to cheer for Miami. I’d rather see Dirk, JKidd, Jet, Matrix, etc get a ring. I find the antics of the Heat to be tiresome.

    But I respect and appreciate you voicing an unpopular opinion. As always you follow basketball with a positive passion that is in general lacking from the media. Keep it up.

  41. I enjoyed the article, thanks Holly.

    I really enjoyed the comments.

    @ Ray, Aaron (I’m not Kim Jong-ill), well said.

    I’m from Western Australia, so my home team is the Perth Wildcats, always has been. But they don’t play in the best league in the world, so how do you judge my loyalties?

    I became aware that basketball existed outside Australia when the Bulls were making their first run, and as much as I was blown away by MJ, I loved watching Pip more. The way he helped Michael be Michael is so terribly under-rated. I’m not saying Scottie didn’t or doesn’t get love…I’m just saying. PS: Thanks Mike for coming back for 17 games and screwing up what Scottie built while you were away sucking at baseball. I still think he just couldn’t handle Scottie getting a ring without him.

    I’ve been a fan of the Celtics since Larry’s back took his last few good seasons from him, to Reggie Lewis, through to my loud proclamations during Paul Pierce’s rookie year that he was ripped off for ROY & would end his career as a better player than Vince Carter, to the big 3, to the big 4, to now, when I’m excited the be able to follow the career of Rajon Rondo.

    I was a fan of David Robinson & Tim Duncan, Derek Harper, Penny Hardaway, Latrell Sprewell, especially his efforts in the 1999 playoffs, Malone & Stockton, Zo, ‘Nique, KJ, Charles, hell even Thunder Dan, to name just a few.

    In fact, there’s only a handful of players of any given era that I genuinely don’t like. Antoine Walker for one, that dude never met a bad three he didn’t like. I hated Shaq early because he was just bigger & stronger than everyone. Young Iverson, because he was a ball-hog, Tim Hardaway because he was a lot like Walker, loved his PG game, but hated those bad 3′s late in games.

    I have been, and am, a fan of every team in the NBA because I’m a fan of basketball being played at it’s very best, which is why I also like the Olympics, but I digress.

    Now, I’ve been a Heat fan for a long time too, I liked Glen Rice, and the dude he was traded for. I loved Zo, there’s a guy who personifies what I want from the Centre position. Guys like Bimbo Coles & PJ Brown, who gave you everything, every night.

    Then came D-Wade. Aww hell yeah, I said. From his rookie year I loved this guy. I wanted him to win ROY over LeBron. I loved watching him in the playoffs with Odom & Butler (and I was livid when Riley traded for Shaq), I loved watching him carry the Heat to the ’06 trophy, and I’ve been frustrated watching him have to carry this team since. But I still loved watching Heat games. And seriously, how awesome was he in the Olympics?

    Foe the record, I said to a friend at the time that D-Wade, LeBron & Bosh talked about playing together some day, during the Olympics: “Those guys are going to join forces in Miami and dominate”.

    Also for the record, while I’ve always marvelled at his talents, I’ve never liked LeBron. I like watching him play because he’s the best of the best, and I grudgingly admit that he’s just that tiny, little bit better than Wade. But together…whew, that’s hell for the rest of the league. Then you throw in Bosh, one of the most talented offensive bigs of his era, with a decent all-round game, who was crucified in Toronto for not being able to carry a crap team all by himself.

    So, I’ve been a fan of every team, of many, many players, regardless of the teams they played for. I am a Dwyane Wade fan, a Rondo fan, a Pierce fan & heaps more.

    Tell me adam, am I not a fan?

  42. @Turkey-Slap

    Best comment I’ve ever read on here. The experience you describe exactly matches my experience with and love for basketball, except I’m from Manitoba. I’m no ‘apathetic’ or ‘less knowledgeable’ fan of the NBA either; I’ve been dropping knowledge and been balls deep with the NBA since I was 8, which is to say 21 years and counting. I’ve also coached for 5+ years, so my Xs and Os game is on point.

    I poop on all those who claim we are not fans. Poop on you.

  43. God damn some of you commenting should be writing your own articles, a lot of wall of texts. If ever a “did not read lol” gif was more appropriate…

  44. “PS: Thanks Mike for coming back for 17 games and screwing up what Scottie built while you were away sucking at baseball. ”

    LOL funniest thing ever.

  45. This was the awesomest play Pippen made while Jordan was out playing baseball.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6yjeBPPIp_8

  46. The LeBron dunk might symbolize everything that’s great about the Heat to you, Holly, but the random, phantom foul that made it a three-point-play symbolizes everything I hate about the NBA, and especially Miami, right now. Watch it again. Nobody does anything to impede him going into the lane. It’s an uncontested dunk, and yet, somehow he gets a foul called late in a freaking NBA finals game. Ditto goes for Dwyane Wade’s botched 3-point-play on DeShawn Stevenson, who made the mistake of letting Wade fall on him while going to the basket. Or Maybe it was an earlier and-1 by LeBron where he stood up with the ball without dribbling, then got a phantom foul on Dirk after clearly traveling.

    Officiating for Miami is always going to be uneven, because they have two superstars — and those guys are always going to get superstar calls, no matter what. And, as a Pistons fan that watched a team without such advantages DEMOLISH an entitled Lakers team before Stern enacted his recent hand-checking/anti-defense measures (conveniently after those same ’04 finals), it disgusts me to have to accept preferential treatment and crap touch fouls superstars get in their favor as just “part of the game.” The current iteration of the Heat are basically the physical manifestation of this, and it bugs the hell out of me, especially when it’s at the expense of a team like Dallas.

    So, yeah. Have fun accepting Miami. If you like the “show” they put on (they shot sub-40% last night, so that might be a bit of a stretch) that’s entirely within your own rights, but don’t tell me I have to like them, too, like it’s some kind of objective fact. LeBron is a great player. Has he been the best player these playoffs? Maybe (I’d still go with Dirk, thus far). Doesn’t mean I have to respect him. Ditto for Wade and Bosh.

  47. Michael Jordan : Lebron James :: A New Hope : Phantom Menace

    Poor LeBron.

  48. I loved this, Holly. I’ve recently become a big fan of yours. As a big homer, I am pretty jacked about all of the praise LeBron has gotten over the past week. Handling the Scottie comments, playing well in game 1, responding well to Gregg Doyel’s “shrinking in the moment” comment, LeBron has largely swung the conversation.

    That all changed last night. Wow. Horrendous. Pathetic. Scared. No hyperbole. Finals are here and LeBron is not.

    Does the inner basketball fan in you find yourself a Mavs fan? What is the beat of the basketball fan nation post “Game 4″?

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