So it may actually be happening tonight.
What started as this:
And led to this:
May soon result in one of these:
It seems the Miami Heat may have gotten it right after all. Despite the frightful public relations campaigns known as The Decision and the Welcome Party, the fact is, the experiment seems to be working. After last season’s NBA Finals collapse, many critics crushed the Heat for attempting to build a championship squad with a ‘stars and scrubs’ mentality – often commenting ‘that’s not how you build a team’. Last year’s Game 6 loss to the Dallas Mavericks served as vindication for such critics who felt like the Heat were attempting to rewrite the rules of how championships were supposed to be built. Well, fast forward twelve months. Maybe Miami has rewritten them after all.
Or maybe Miami just took a page out of Boston’s recently published book. Boston proved quick-fix titles were possible when they brought their own Big Three together and immediately won a championship in 2008. Boston though, had the fortune of bringing three aging players with complimenting skill sets together who knew their only chance at a ring was through this partnership – they were willing to sacrifice ego and shots for a chance at glory. Miami’s situation was a bit different.
Miami had arguably two of the NBA’s top-5 players league coming together in the prime’s of their careers (and had very similar styles and skill-sets). One of the two (Dwyane Wade) had already won a championship, and the other had already led his team to a NBA Finals appearances by age 22 (LeBron James). The desperation that seemed to drive Boston may not have been present from the start in Miami. After essentially cruising to the NBA Finals in just their first season together, the Heat got a rude awaking when pundits spewed piles and piles of ‘hate’ their direction after coming up short against the Mavericks. But I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – Boston immediate success should not be looked upon as the rule, but the exception.
Had Miami’s Big Three conducted their free-agent signings privately, or even held a more low-key arrival, just getting to the NBA Finals in their first season together would have been deemed a success. Instead, they had rubbed their signings in everyone’s faces and threw a ridiculous welcoming bonanza that made the sports world cringe. They set themselves up for failure, and critics couldn’t wait for the first chance to throw it back in their faces. Well, here we are now…
If the Heat win tonight, what will the critics say then? Regardless of what negatively may still be thrown their direction, the Heat will be able to simply point up in the sky and say, “Scoreboard.” Two seasons together – two NBA Finals appearances, one championship. I’d say the plan is working. How many other teams in the NBA would die for back-to-back NBA Finals appearances? All 29? Shoot, Phoenix Suns fans still reminisce about their 1993 NBA Finals appearance back like it was yesterday! The Heat have been to three of the past seven NBA Finals, potentially winning two of them. Slow clap for Pat Reilly.
So can everyone just get over The Decision already? Who cares if Lebron didn’t tell the Cleveland Cavaliers before he left? Lebron was a free agent – he owed them nothing. Do you know how many players the Cavaliers have traded without giving them previous notice? How is this any different? James gave the organization the best seven-year run they’ll likely ever see…they should have been writing him thank you/miss you cards by the dozen. Instead, their crybaby, delusional owner publicly and bitterly vowed the Cavaliers would win a title before ‘The Self-Proclaimed King’ ever did. Yeah, how’s that working out for you…
And who cares if the Big Three had an outrageously excessive Welcome Party, basketball is meant to be entertainment, right? Miami had just won the sweepstakes for the best basketball player on earth, why wouldn’t they want to celebrate? It’s not like the Heat fans weren’t having fun, they were going bat-shit crazy at the event! The organization held the event for its fans, its fans loved it, get over it… You can’t tell me every other arena in the nation wouldn’t have been just as crazy if the same thing had happened to their team.
So the Heat now have three chances to win the championship while much of the nation roots against them. Critics everywhere are hoping for an epic collapse so they will be vindicated once again. But I think we should just step back and appreciate this Heat team for what it is. Disregard The Decision and the Welcome Home Party… appreciate the fact three superstars sacrificed their egos, shots, and money to be part of something greater – a championship team. LeBron’s run in this year’s playoffs has to be one of the top-five playoff performances of all time. Appreciate that. Appreciate his greatness. On the court, LeBron is an unselfish superstar who plays his ass off every single game. At the very minimum, how can you not at least respect that? For the sake of sports media, lets just hope Lebron gets his ring this season so we can finally move on to a new storyline. After all, it is almost Tebow-Time in New York! That’s that.
*Don’t forget to send questions, thoughts, concerns, and/or rants to TheBatteredFan@gmail.com for this Friday’s weekly mailbag*