Earlier this week, the Heat celebrated with their Championship parade. And though most of the US wanted the Heat to lose the series, I was cheering loudly for the Heat to win. I lived in Miami for eight years, serving as executive pastor of Christ Fellowship. For nine years (including last year), I attended Heat games. I even scored some tickets to the NBA Finals in ’06 when we won our first title.
A few buddies (JR Lovins & Brandon Hiltibidal) and I served together on staff in Miami and now live in Nashville. And though we live in Tennessee, we remain Heat fans. Here are a few random thoughts from us, that may help you understand how we think as Heat fans, as you process the fact that the NBA’s most hated team just won it all … again.
1. We understand why everyone hated “The Decision.” We admit we would have hated it too … if we had lived anywhere but Miami. But we lived in Miami and were the only team to benefit from it. So while we understood the frustration, we simultaneously rejoiced. Hearing sportscasters in Miami continually applaud the genius of Riley for pulling in all three studs (James, Bosh, Wade) prepared us for the disdain from every other city in America.
2. We made fun of Chris Bosh too. He was an easy target when things were not going well. When the first 20 games of “The Big Three” era left us barely above .500, it was easy to poke fun of Bosh’s scrawny muscles, ostrich-themed neck, and toddler-esque rebounding rate. But then he went down against the Pacers in 2012, and we saw the team struggle mightily. We all apologized for the unkind words and promised not to make fun of him ever again. Also, we still make fun of him.
3. We wonder what life might be like if Dallas hadn’t won Game 2 in 2011. What if one of the greatest comebacks in NBA Finals history had not happened? If Dallas had not managed to come back from down 16 points with five minutes left in Game 2 of 2011, Miami would have gone up 2-0 in that series. Would 2013 been a three-peat and not a re-peat? The reason Lebron’s frightening dunk over Jason Terry’s feeble old-man shell felt so good was that it brought a bit of healing after years of hurting. It retains its healing powers even after 137 views on youtube.
4. We know we should not have won Game 6, statistically speaking. We’ve heard that coming back from down 5 points with 22 seconds happens less than 2% of the time. But we picked up Ray Allen in the offseason. For half price. Thanks, Rajon.
5. We love the relationship between Pat Riley and Erik Spolestra. How cool is it that a young video guy can gain the respect of a man who may or may not have sold his soul for basketball brilliance and potent follicles, and in so doing win back-to-back titles while reinventing the way team basketball is played?
6. Yes, we know we might lose Lebron next year. We also know that we already have two new rings. We know people will poke fun of Miami if he leaves, because many love to hate on Miami. But we would rather be hated than irrelevant. Few people other than us know that Rafer Alston (Skip to my Lou) ran point for the Heat in 04 because it didn’t matter. But people know that LeBron can run point and guard a center, and we are glad he did so in a Heat uniform.