A couple of weeks ago I received an email from a guy who referred to himself only as “MK”. He told me he was Australia’s biggest Miami Heat fan, and I had no reason to disagree with him. Truth be told, I don’t know any Heat Fans (although I suspect I will soon). MK told me about the days of Timmy Hardaway and Dan Majerle, which of course struck a chord with me instantly – TBug is my all-time fav and Thunder Dan is a living legend and the greatest three point shooter in NBA Live history. He told me about the heartbreak of losing to the Knicks in ‘99, about the rough years earlier in the decade, about the rise and rise of D-Wade, the title in ‘06, and of course, the new big trio in South Beach.
It was a surprisingly well written and touching email. The point? MK told me there was no Heat fan more qualified to present their team’s case to Jim. He told me he had already in fact started writing a letter to Jim. With commitment to the cause like that, it was hard to say no.
So Jim, sit back and relax as MK makes his case for the Miami Heat.
Jim, I’m going to make it simple for you. There’s one reason you should choose the Miami Heat as your object of NBA fan affection, and one reason only. I can spell it in 7 letters.
It is what every team dreams of. What every player dreams of. What every fan dreams of. To be part of something so great, so historic, that there is no other word left to describe it.
Think about it Jim. Since you’ve been following the NBA as a kid, there’s only been two true dynasties. One of them you would be very familiar with, having been a Bulls fan in the 90’s. The other was the Kobe-Shaq Lakers earlier in the millennium, which barely satisfied the criteria for a dynasty.
There have been plenty of great teams over the last two decades – Hakeem’s Rockets, Duncan’s Spurs, and Kobe’s Lakers again in the past few seasons. But none of them qualify for the term “dynasty”. Those teams were great – but nowhere near the level of Jordan’s Bulls or Shaq’s Lakers.
Think about what it meant to be a Bulls fan during their period of dominance. You got to watch the greatest player in the game in Michael Jordan. You got to watch the all-round brilliance of Scottie Pippen. You watched role players step up to reach heights you could have never predicted. You saw season after season of countless playoff heroics and epic moments. And of course, you cheered as your team hoisted the trophy high at the end of it.
And the next season, you’d watch them do it all over again, knowing that the championship was yours to lose. That is the mark of a dynasty team.
This could be Lebron, Wade and Bosh in six years
All this talk of the Bulls isn’t intended to rekindle your passion for your old team. Far from it. Chicago’s glory days are over. Nothing they do now or in the future will EVER stack up to what Jordan’s team did in the nineties. Please remember this when you make your decision Jim. Picking Chicago is like getting back together with your ex after several years apart – she’ll never be able to reclaim her youthful beauty, and it will never be the same second time round.
The Miami Heat, Jim, is your team. A team on the brink of a basketball dynasty, perhaps of the likes not seen since the Celtics won just about every championship in the sixties. Lebron James and Dwyane Wade are two of the most talented individual players in NBA history – they could well end up as top-10 players all time. And they’re on the same team. Mark my words, this is the dawn of something special.
“What about the role players?”, I hear the doubters say. “You can’t have a successful team with just three good players!”. Well Jim, I hope you realise that this is pure nonsense. Go and look at the role players of the Bulls in the 90’s. These guys – Paxson, BJ Armstrong, Horace Grant, Ron Harper, Luc Longley, etc – none of them were ever great players before, or after their team’s period of dominance. They became great role players because of the team, because of Jordan and Pippen, because of Phil Jackson. The same will happen with Lebron and Wade and Bosh. It’s already happening. People just don’t realise it.
“But Eric Spoelstra is hardly Phil Jackson”, the haters might say. This is true. I’m the first to admit Coach Spoelstra looks more like my local pizza delivery boy than a winning NBA coach. But don’t forget the mastermind looming in the background who orchestrated all this. Pat Riley. One of the greatest coaches in NBA history, the coach of another dynasty team in the 80’s – the Magic/Kareem Lakers. I have no doubt that if Spoelstra can’t get it done this season, Riley will step in and guide the Heat to a championship just as he did in 2006. There’s no better man for the job.
“What about the bandwagon label?” I hear you say. Jim, forget the bandwagon label. It’s immaterial. It is something that will cause a tiny amount of ridicule, which will pale in comparison to the joy this team will give you every step of the way to several championships. Sure you’ll have to wear it initially after you’ve made your decision, but once you become known as a Heat fan, do you think people will care one, or two years from now? The Heat will be winning championships through till at least 2015. Tell me a few “bandwagon” calls really matters amongst five years of unrivalled success. They won’t. You’ll brush them off. Your team will be too great for you to care.
Jim, I hope by now I’ve made my point very clear. I’ve barely spoken about the talents and personalities of this team, why I think they will mesh, how we can break down opposition teams, or how our apparent lack of size will be irrelevant. I haven’t even touched on Lebron, Wade and Bosh and how they will compliment their games, sacrifice their egos for the greater good of the team (the fact they sacrificed their own salaries should tell you enough about that). I haven’t had to talk about all of that, because frankly Jim, that won’t convince you to choose the Heat.
What will convince you, is the fact this team is going to be one of the greatest in sports history – not just the NBA. They will alter the course of the sport forever. They will rewrite the history books. They will give us moments and memories that will never die.
And they will do all this in the next decade.
Sure, one day Lebron and Wade and Bosh will be gone and you will be a Heat fan left with the memories of past glories. That’s no different to any team in any sport, really. But if you choose the Miami Heat as your team, they won’t just be memories of the glory days, of a championship, or two. They will be the memories of a dynasty.
Don’t be the fan who looks back on this Heat dynasty as an outsider. Be a part of it Jim, and enjoy every single moment.