Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Why You Need the Miami Heat

By Joe Parello  @HerewegoJoe

I must preface this by saying that I am a fair-weather Heat fan.

I know this may sound redundant to some, but trust me, there are some Heat fans that tune in when the team isn't any good. I know, because they all screamed it (On social media, of course) minutes after "The Decision," just to make sure everyone knew they weren't hitching themselves to the latest bandwagon.

Either way, the point is, I don't hate the Heat, but I certainly see why most people do.

I mean, you pretty much HAVE to hate them if you're not from South Florida, simply because this uber-team couldn't come together in any other NBA city. When LeBron announced where he was taking his talents, he wasn't taking them to Broadway, or Michigan Avenue or Boylston Street.

New York, Chicago and Boston are all fine cities, but it was pretty clear that this was going to be a sexy pick, and places that require winter coats for (seemingly) eight months of the year just weren't going to cut it.

Los Angeles?

That would be great, if he wanted to be taxed into the ground. So, we really only have one town that is (A.) Warm Weather, (B.) Sexy (Sorry Orlando, Oklahoma City and Dallas) (C.) A "major market" (Just missed out, New Orleans) and (D.) Tax friendly so that all three guys didn't need max deals.

This is the first reason you have to hate the Heat: Your town couldn't do it!

Oh yeah, also because there was clearly collusion involved in their formation and they go against every "good" stereotype we have for how to build a winning team. They took a major shortcut, they didn't go through any growing pains.

They cheated.

So, when the Heat lost game one to the Bulls after a week long layoff, you know it was a hater's holiday. Never mind the fact that the rusty Heat couldn't hit the Atlantic Ocean from South Beach, this was a victory for the scrappy underdog Bulls. My Facebook news feed ranged from "I guess LeBron isn't that valuable after all" (Just stupid) to "Suck it Heat!" (Fair enough).

Again, I'm just a fair-weather fan, so if the Heat lose I'll go on living my life looking forward to football season. If they win, I'm simply going to rub that victory, inevitable as it may have been, in all your faces. That's the beauty of being a fair-weather fan, and why it's insufferable to be around them.

But, love or hate the Heat, I think we can all agree that the American sports landscape needs them right now.

Who are the other great villains? The Yankees suck, the Cowboys have sucked for my entire adult life, the Lakers suck and the NFL is built against teams being good enough for long enough to be hated.

The closest you can come is the New England Patriots, who have a pretty boy quarterback and evil genius coach, but even they are hard to hate these days. Need I remind you that Mr. Perfect Tom Brady has been outplayed by Joe Flacco (twice) and Eli Manning the last two postseasons?!

Yeah, they beat the Ravens the first time around, but the other two games Brady ended up sitting on the floor looking like his parents just told him somebody had run over his puppy (Named Wes, by the way).

Look at this miserable, beautiful man. I'm supposed to hate him? I want to give him a hug!

The only other good villains in sports right now come from the college ranks. Nick Saban's Alabama Crimson Tide is awesome to root against because everyone thinks he's a genius, when he really doesn't do anything tactically brilliant. He simply breaks down talented young men emotionally, strips them of their individuality, and gets them to perform as a cohesive unit.

The army has been doing that forever, I'm not impressed, Nick!

PS, how did that work out when you had to do it with millionaires that could talk back to you in the NFL? Yeah, your simplistic "disciplined" defense and power running game couldn't do jack against teams that had equal talent.

It's this same reason that you have to hate John Calipari and Kentucky. Through shady connections with handlers and agents, Cal stacks the deck in his favor every year by bringing in four or five McDonald's All Americans. Heck, this year he's got a record six coming in.

Like Saban, he doesn't do anything brilliant, he just gets the best players. Only, unlike Saban, he doesn't even get them to play all that well together. That's why, say what you want about the Nicktator, he never would've put a team on the field as underachieving as the dumpster fire that was the 2013 Kentucky Wildcats. Injuries or not.

But, both of them failed miserably when they went to the pros, so it's hard to even really hate them. They're like the kids that went to college, flunked out, then started going to parties at their old high school again to feel cool. It's a little sad.

Anyways, the point is sports need villains, and the Heat are the only good ones. Big colleges stacking the deck in their favor is whatever, and we've seen this happen in baseball, but for it to happen in basketball is delightfully infuriating. We really want to believe that these scrappy Nate RoBullsons can beat those clowns and show them what being a real team is!

But they won't, and then we'll get to spend the entire summer discussing how many more titles LeBron needs to win with this super team before he's in Jordan's, nay, Kobe's league. Because those two NEVER played with good teammates.