There is an absurd, antiquated notion going around that somehow LeBron James is now validated as an NBA great because he won a championship. That being the best player in the game was not enough, but that you have to have the best team too. Winning a championship at any level in a team game requires you to have the best team. It is one of the sports stigmas that I have been condemning for years. Winning is overrated. I know what I just said. Okay maybe just using “A winner” as an adjective for one player on a team is overrated. Sometimes winning as a team has as much to do with luck as it does talent, repetition and practice.
Sometimes winning has a bit to do with the other team losing, such as the Miami Heat in last years finals. Because the Heat failed to adjust to the moves of Dallas, Dirk Nowitzki gets cemented as a great player and a legend. Before that he was considered a choker, someone who could not deliver on the big stage. Dirk played great in the series, but he did not become great because he won the championship. Nowitzki has always been great because he plays like the greats.
LeBron James was already one of the best ever. Are you going to tell me that in Cleveland, if Delonte West played better in 2009 against Orlando in the conference finals or if Big Z played better in the 2007 NBA finals against the Spurs then LeBron would have already been considered an all-time great back then? That’s bollocks. What does that have to do with LeBron becoming validated? His teams were lacking something. Maybe chemistry, a defensive philosophy, corner shooting or shotblocking. I don’t know, but LeBron helped his teammates in Cleveland be as good as they can be.
Is LeBron now a “Clutch” player because he won? In the 2007 conference finals while playing for Cleveland against the mighty defense of Detroit, James scored 29 of the Cavs last 30 points including 25 in a row and finished with 48 points and 7 assists. But that was not clutch I guess. In the 2009 conference finals against Orlando, James scored 40 points in three different games including 49 in game 1. His career scoring, rebounding and assist per game averages are all higher in the playoffs than in the regular season. He has been to the conference finals and NBA finals many times and has dominated the playoffs for years. This year he did the same, but he has a better team with him.
For some reason (ESPN…), the Miami Heat had been cast as villains by the media and the ignoramuses of the world. To all the sheep out there, I pose one simple question: Would the Heat have been a hated team if it were not for LeBron’s “The Decision”? Of course not. All that misguided hate would and should have been love toward the Heat. Top to bottom, This team is stacked with good guys who did the right thing to be able to play together. In a normal world, the Heat would have been embraced as the most likeable team in the league.
Think about it. First of all, the Big 3 all took less money to be here. The Heat roster has local players that played high school, college, and pro ball in Miami with James Jones and Udonis Haslem. Haslem is so Florida he has a freaking tatoo of it on his back. Haslem also took less money twice to remain in Miami. There is a tatoo-free role model superstar in Dwyane Wade, a superstar in Chris Bosh who took a reduced role at the prime of his career to play here, and LeBron James who is the ultimate team player. Mike Miller turned down more money to sign here also and gutted out two injured seasons so far.
Juwan Howard is like a coach on the sideline, and it is great to see him here winning a championship after commisioner David Stern nullified the huge contract Miami tried to give him about 15 years ago, accusing Pat Riley of manipulating the salary cap. Shane Battier is one of the smartest and funniest guys in the league and he plays old-school hands-in-your-face defense. Miami also has players that were drafted or found, then groomed in Miami such as Mario Chalmers, Joel Anthony, Norris Cole, Wade and Haslem. The whole team is based on sacrifice, brotherhood, defense and winning. How is this not one of the most likeable teams ever?
Fans of any basketball team not named Miami would have you believe that the Heat were some money-inspired super team that was pieced together with no aim a la New York Yankees. Because of one television event (Which happened to raise millions for the Boys and Girls Club and other charities) and one impromptu welcoming party two years ago, people decided this was going to be the new team to hate. Being the hated team is a new experience for Miami fans, but boy is it rewarding when you win! For the record, while the Heatles were on their U.S. tour, plenty of Heat jerseys and shirts were spotted in the other team’s home crowd
By the way media, stop talking shit about our fans. They are young yet, and they will learn. The Heat, Panthers, and Marlins have only been around for 20 years or so and some people in Miami are learning how to be fans of different sports. Before 1988, all we had was the Miami Dolphins. If you had gone into a coma in 1988 and woke up in 1994, you woke up to four major sports teams in the Miami area. It was easy for Dolphin fans, just get drunk, yell and you are considered a great fan. I promise you if you lived in Miami you would see thousands of hardcore, passionate fans just like in any city, but in a city like Miami…there is so much else to do. I get why Alabama football and Green Bay Packer football is so huge; that’s what they DO in those cities.
The bottom line is that the Miami Heat have been in the upper third in the NBA in attendance figures for many years now. Also, LeBron was great before you said so, and there were many Heat fans here before you started paying attention to us.