When LeBron James, Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh decided to join forces to become the NBA’s supposed version of a super power, they thrust themselves into the national spotlight as a team to either be loved or hated. Not much room for middle ground.
Aside from the New York Yankees, who are hated by non-Yankee fans because of their continuous success and ability to outspend the rest of Major League Baseball, there is no other professional sports team that is as hated as the Miami Heat.
LeBron started off the disdain for the Heat with his ill-advised “reality” special, simply referred to as “The Decision.” Before people even had the chance to accept what the Heat had become, they added fuel to the fire by referring to themselves as “The Heatles.”
“If you’re gonna talk the talk, you gotta walk the walk.”
Although the Heat have the sixth best record in the NBA, they are currently on a four-game losing streak, much to the delight of even the most casual basketball fan. Their record against the five teams above them in the NBA is an embarrassing 1-10.
The team that some predicted to win 70 games this year, still has not found a way to compete with the other top teams in the league, despite having played 63 games together.
After last night’s one-point loss to the Chicago Bulls, head coach Eric Spoelstra said that there were tears of frustration by some of the players in the locker room.
If Spoelstra revealed the fact that some of his guys were crying after the game to endear the hated Heat to the masses, it failed miserably. The Heat got no sympathy from the media or basketball fans. Instead, what they received was a healthy dose of deserved mockery.
Is a four-game losing streak in the midst of an 82-game season worth crying about? If not for the brash predictions and self-indulgent titles, would anyone even care that any team has lost four games in a row in the NBA? Has the sports world ever celebrated regular season losses in any sport with such glee?
The Heat (once again) have adopted an “us against the world” mentality, which is comical because they are the ones who created this atmosphere in the first place.
“I do chuckle a little bit when they complain about the scrutiny they get,” said Orlando Magic coach Stan Van Gundy. “My suggestion would be if you don’t want the scrutiny, you don’t hold a championship celebration before you’ve even practiced together. It’s hard to go out yourself and invite that kind of crowd and celebration and attention, and then when things aren’t going well, sort of bemoan the fact that you’re getting that attention.”
Van Gundy’s Orlando Magic basically overhauled their entire team in December in order to compete with the top teams in the Eastern Conference, and yet they are a mere three games behind the Heat in the standings.
The Heat would be wise to stop worrying about what basketball fans and the media think of them, and start worrying about what they are going to do to right the ship and live up to the lofty predictions that they made before ever playing a single game together.
Any attempt to garner sympathy from the masses is an exercise in futility.
“The Heatles” have been “talking the talk” since they joined forces in the summer of 2010. If they want the mockery to stop, they’ll need to “walk the walk” under the heat of the national spotlight.