Like many Americans of prudent judgment and sound mind, I will be rooting passionately against the Heat during this year’s NBA Finals, and thus for the Oklahoma City Thunder. Why, you ask? Because I have a memory longer than the 24-hour news cycle, that’s why.
We live in a contrarian society, one that argues, overanalyzes and debates ad nauseam. So as soon as it became too popular or mainstream to hate the Miami Heat and LeBron James for all their ills and faults (both real and received), a sort of counter-movement started, making the case that rooting for the Heat and for LeBron was okay. Because they’ve suffered defeat and struggle, the line of logic goes, they’ve now earned the right to succeed.
Let me be clear: it’s not, nor will it ever be okay, to root for LeBron and the Heat. They brought this scrutiny and loathing – all of it – upon themselves. They are the sports version of the antichrist and DEAR BABY JESUS, KEVIN DURANT IS OUR ONLY HOPE.
We’re not even two years removed from The Decision, LeBron’s one-hour television special when he metaphorically urinated on his pseudo-hometown of Cleveland, trotting out kids from the Boys & Girls Club as props to serve as cover. We’re not even two years removed from Miami’s post-Decision victory pageant, when LeBron promised “not four, not five, not six” championships. We’re not even a year removed from the post-NBA Finals press conference last year, when Bron Bron ranted and raved about how the little people needed to stop hating him and should get back to their peon lives.
And yet people like Jeff Van Gundy, the former basketball coach and current ESPN announcer, believe there should be a “statute of limitations for [Miami’s] stupidity,” as he recently suggested during a telecast.
Yes Jeff, there is a statute of limitations for stupidity. It’s there for all of us. It’s called death.
So here are 11 reminders why rooting against the Miami Heat is and always will be the socially just and morally sound thing to do. The concept of hate in list form isn’t new, but it’s needed now more than ever. And why 11? Nigel Tufnel, the lead guitarist of the rock band Spinal Tap, understands.
Admittedly, this will be quite difficult without once using the word that begins with a “D” and rhymes with “moosh.” But I will do it for my wayward countrymen who don’t comprehend what is at stake here.
11) The Heat are un-American
Hyperbolic? Not at all. There’s the alleged collusion that brought this unholy mutant together. Then there’s the fact that teaming up with your bros on the South Beach for an easier path to accomplishing one’s goals is the perfect micro-example for everything that is wrong with the Millennial Generation that both Bron Bron and I belong to. Remember that time Alexander Graham Bell teamed up with rival Elisha Gray because the telephone was too hard? No? How about that time John Lennon got intimidated by Brian Wilson so he joined The Beach Boys? Not that either? What about that time Michael Jordan called up Larry Bird and Magic Johnson and said “I need your help, fam!” Not that either? Huh.
10) Shane Battier
It’s not a coincidence that the NBA’s most prolific flopper went to Duke. Of course he did. Let’s just be thankful he left the floor slapping and general life awkwardness in Durham.
Anyways, he also said this about his teammate LeBron James: “He is a fascinating [case] study because he’s really the first and most seminal sports figure in the information age.”
Just stop, man. You’ll get your ESPN commentator tryout after you retire. For now, you’re simply confusing your subject matter.
(9) Miami Heat Fans
Any wide pan of the crowd at American Airlines Arena is always a trip through the zoo of humanity. Can vapidity be quantitatively measured? How can that many people be orange? How do we as a society produce that much hair gel?
So many questions. Perhaps the Miami Heat’s how to be a fan 101 “Fan Up” guide has some answers!
(8) LeBron James – Part I
Where to begin. I’ll start with the off the court stuff. He sometimes comes across as a contrived, walking billboard for [Insert Product Here, Be Sure to Pay his Peeps First], probably more the result of being an athletic prodigy than anything else. There’s the fact that he often refers to himself in the third person. Or that in the rare interview away from his Nike and PR handlers, he comes across as a petulant, narcissistic child.
Then there’s the millions of dollars he cost Cleveland’s economy when he left. So yeah, it’s a child’s game and he can go wherever he wants as a free agent, but let’s not pretend it didn’t impact real lives and real people.
There’s also this: “The LeBrons,” a cartoon about the different parts of LeBron’s persona, nominally for children but that’s really an exercise in self-indulgence. The real life LeBron created it and serves as an executive producer for the show. Dr. Drew could have a field day on Bron Bron’s psyche after watching just one episode, it’s that absurd and transparent.
Oh, and there’s this: he asked his fiancée to marry him at his own birthday party. It’s not about you Bron Bron, it’s about the girl. Here’s hoping the wedding cake isn’t topped with just one oversized groom.
Congrats to the happy couple!
From airing the epic fail that was The Decision to their “Heat Index” sub-site to their endless rotation of talking heads waxing eloquent about Miami, no one has been more complicit in the unleashing of this plague on the sports world than The Worldwide Leader. I’m sure they’ve made plenty of beaucoup cash in the process. Good thing, those plucky underdogs up in Bristol sure could use it.
(6) Pat Riley
I’d be wary of buying an Arby’s roast beef sandwich from this man, let alone a used car. And stop tapping your chin like that, you’re not a mafia don.
(5) Eddy Curry
As you toil over a set of meaningless PowerPoint slides for hours that your boss will look at for 15 seconds, only to rinse and repeat this process week after week for the next three decades, just remember that Heat player Eddy Curry, better known as the lost moon of Pluto, is making 1.3 million dollars this year. He played 83 minutes this season, total.
No, life’s not fair. I hope this isn’t news.
(4) Dwyane Wade
Pre-teaming up with Bron Bron, D-Wade was one of the NBA’s most beloved stars – charming and skilled, with a winner’s mentality and a full trophy case. Post-LeBron, he’s morphed into his bizarro self. He flops, he whines, he yells at his coach on the sideline. And, lest I forget, he’s also earned the reputation of a cheapshot artist, from dislocating Rajon Rondo’s elbow last year in the playoffs to breaking Kobe Bryant’s nose this year at the All-Star Game to tackling Darren Collison in this year’s playoffs.
You were supposed to change LeBron, D-Wade, not have him change you. For shame. If Charles Barkley has taken you out of his T-Mobile Fave 5, you deserve it.
My wife made me promise not to make any dinosaur jokes about Chris Bosh, “Because he can’t help that he looks like a reptile.” Okay, fair enough. He also does weird things like this during postgame interviews. Creeper. Alert.
(2) LeBron James – Part II
Yes, he’s the best basketball player on the planet. That can’t be disputed. And I personally don’t care if he has a clutch gene or not (he doesn’t) – he’ll never be Michael Jordan, and to his credit (and in a rare display of self-awareness), Bron Bron seems to recognize that.
But still – man up. The best are the best when it matters most, be it in basketball, business or posting snarky quips on Twitter. The truth is, even after a strong performance in this year’s Eastern Conference Finals, LeBron’s reputation as wilting in the big moment isn’t undeserved. His 2009 Cleveland team won 66 games and was much more cohesive than any of the Heat teams he’s played on, yet couldn’t punch through to a championship. He’s 0-2 in NBA Finals already, and it’ll take a Herculean effort on his part not to go 0-3 with a hobbled, tired Heat team against the favored Thunder. Color me skeptical, but I don’t think he’s up to the challenge.
(1) The Type of People that Root for the Heat and LeBron
This is a category of individuals separate and distinct from Miami Heat fans. They aren’t orange, they don’t wear baby seal pelts and moon boots, they don’t look like they’re auditioning to be an extra in a Pitbull video. They seem normal. But they’re not.
They’re hater-haters. They talk about LeBron’s MVP Awards and his PER rating and blah blah blah. They argue that no one should begrudge anyone else for leaving Cleveland for Miami. They are snide and only peripherally invested in anything and use terms like “post-ironic” and have never let an outcome of a sports game affect their mood, let alone their life.
These people should all be waterboarded.
For God. For Country. For All That is Human Decency. Go Thunder. Beat the Heat.
Matt Gallagher is Senior Fellow at the nonprofit Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America and the author of the war memoir Kaboom, published in 2010 by Da Capo Press. A former Army captain who served fifteen months in Iraq, you can follow him on Twitter at @MattGallagher83.