After being assigned five games in the first seven days of the NBA season, the traveling Miami Heat circus show can finally take a few days of rest.
And for goodness sake, they deserve it. They have been marching around the country putting their three-headed-monster on display for everyone to scrutinize.
The first week of NBA play has been all Heat all the time, and even though they don’t have a game for another two days, the basketball gods are still focusing their attention on the South Beach villains, as they’ve been portrayed.
ESPN.com has devoted an entire page to the team with their new “Heat Index” section, featuring articles asking how LeBron James could have made “The Decision” tastefully. Nike has spent all summer coming up with an ad campaign to restore James’ image after his messy breakup with Cleveland. Even the passive Canadians took shots at former Toronto Raptor Chris Bosh when he left, as did most of America.
It is safe to say the majority of NBA fans and writers hate the team. I’ve heard a number of monikers for them such as “the new Yankees,” “a team of narcissists” and even the and mean-spirited “team of ugly fools.”
But is all this resentment still worth it? The trades happened, the team is loaded and they are going to dominate the East. Get over it.
I will be the first to admit that I was not happy about the three mega-stars joining forces when it happened. I subscribe to the school of thought that true competitors can take a deflated team and carry them to greatness.
But when you take the names off the back of the jerseys and simply watch them play, how cool is this team? It’s like when you were a kid playing on the blacktop and all the really good, really tall players decided to play a three-versus-everyone else game. Or like when you spent all that time trading players on NBA video games to put together a mythical team of larger-than-life stars.
This team exemplifies greatness, and they are scary good from top to bottom.
Consider this: Since losing their first game to Boston, the Heat have outscored opponents by 22.8 points per game. Also consider the fact that Miami never plays a five-man lineup that does not include one of the 10 best players in the game. The fact that James can come in with the second team if he wanted to and still be just as strong is mind-boggling.
James, as big-headed as he seemed over the summer, is willing to accept any role on the team and dish the credit to other players, and the Heat are gelling better because of it.
“I think [Dwayne Wade] carried the scoring load in the first half, and when you have that, you don’t have to worry about scoring as much,” James said after playing point guard against Minnesota on Tuesday.
Wade finally has all the pieces around him to let him enjoy victories, rather than shoulder the burden of his lesser teammates of the past. He’s been given the green light to go be trigger-happy with the support of Bosh and James. It’s a beautiful thing, and it’s fun to watch.
After losing the season opener, Wade had that familiar feeling of personal responsibility for his Heat.
“Not a great 1 but its 1 of 82..felt good 2 finally play a game this season. Now ill work on my rhythm and chemistry with the guys,” he Tweeted afterwards.
I don’t think he has to worry about that anymore. The team is moving to its own beat and dancing over teams in the process.
It may be hard to swallow the fact that a team can be this good while the rest of the league is just chasing their shadow. But as a basketball fan, I can’t wait to see the Miami Heat face the Los Angeles Lakers in the finals. It is going to happen. When it does, basketball enthusiasts can debate the “one-star-carrying-the-team” vs. “the-star-studded-team” philosophies.
So no matter how deep-seated your hate for LeBron, Bosh or Wade is, just imagine the names on the jerseys don’t exist, that you are simply watching basketball and not the personalities associated with it.
This is one instance where you can hate the players, but not the game.