- Posted June 16, 2014 by
Culture of Losers: Why You're Wrong About Lebron James and the Miami Heat
Before defeating the Miami Heat in 5 games, the San Antonio Spurs defeated the Oklahoma City Thunder, a team featuring 2 of the top 5 players in the NBA (Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook). I understand Serge Ibaka missed the first 2 games, but the Spurs blew out the Thunder with Durant and Westbrook (who played all 6 games). At this point in their careers, the duo of James and Wade is not as explosive as Durant and Westbrook, largely because of Wade's decline in athleticism. And the Spurs still blew them out.
For the casual basketball fan, or should I say the full-time Heat hater, rather than realize the above mentioned fact and congratulate San Antonio, you'll spend your efforts ridiculing Miami and Lebron James because they failed. And their failure is your victory. The mentality of a Cavaliers fan. So let's tackle your argument of the Miami Heat failing.
In the past 4 years, they have managed to become the first team since 1986 to reach the NBA Finals four consecutive years. Putting that in perspective, only 2 other NBA franchises have ever achieved that in the history of the NBA: the Boston Celtics and the Los Angeles Lakers. Yeah... even Jordan's Chicago Bulls didn't make the list. Like the Heat, both the Lakers and the Celtics featured over 5 Hall of Fame players on their roster. And also like the Heat, both teams failed to win the title every time they made it to the Finals.
In 4 straight Finals appearances, the Lakers went 2-2, the Celtics went 2-2, and now the Heat have gone 2-2. That's NBA history. (Bleacher Report) So what you call failure, I call dominance, consistency, excellence, and NBA history.
Your argument might then shift to Miami's lineup, which features James, Wade, Bosh, and Ray Allen; 3-4 future Hall of Famers. Again, putting it in an objective perspective: the 1984 Celtics featured Larry Bird, Kevin McHale, Danny Ainge, Dennis Johnson, and Robert Parrish. 5 Hall of Famers. The 1982 Lakers featured Magic Johnson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Bob McAdoo, Jamaal Wilkes, and James Worthy. 5 Hall of Famers. Like the Heat, both teams made it to 4 straight NBA Finals, won two and lost two (2-2). So the Miami Heat technically did what they were supposed to do. If you criticize them, criticize the Lakers and Celtics as well.
Meanwhile the Miami Heat have now risen to the NBA franchise with the 5th most titles of all time behind the Lakers, Celtics, Bulls, and Spurs (in that order). So I would have to disagree and classify them as anything but losers. Feel free to research where your team ranks between #6-30, then present a better argument as to why the Miami Heat are losers. Tonight the Miami Heat lost to a championship organization. A team that has won 3 of it's 5 titles with Duncan, Parker, and Ginobili, and all 5 with Duncan and Coach Pop. And a team that lost to the Miami Heat last year. That's nothing to be ashamed of. Because more than likely, the Miami Heat have never lost to your team. And they're (1-1) against the Spurs and the Mavericks in the NBA Finals.
Next, you'll probably allude to the fact that Miami acquired James, Bosh, and Allen via free agency. Again perspective. Magic Johnson's 1982-1985 Lakers featured Hall of Fame players acquired via free agency as well (Kareem Abdul Jabbar, Jamaal Wilkes, and Bob McAdoo). And 7 years ago, another Eastern conference NBA team signed 2 superstars in the prime of their careers, the Boston Celtics, who signed Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen via free agency. But unlike the Miami Heat, who reached 4 straight NBA Finals and went (2-2), that Celtics team (which also featured Rajon Rondo, Tony Allen, and Kendrick Perkins) only managed 2 NBA Finals appearances, going (1-1) despite being together as a team for 5 years. To put that in perspective, this Heat team has only been together for 4 years.
Finally, you'll admit that you don't like the Miami Heat because of Lebron James; which I suspect is at the heart and crux of most people's disdain for the Miami Heat. You don't like or respect the Miami Heat, because you don't like or respect Lebron James. You don't like the way he chose to leave Cleveland and come to Miami. You don't like "The Decision" (which you probably watched). And you don't like the fact that he chose Miami (which you probably hoped would have been your team). Football is widely considered the most popular team sport in America. And every year the entire country watches National Signing Day, which is essentially the same thing as "The Decision," only Lebron didn't try on different team hats to tease the audience, Lebron didn't dishonor any verbal commitments he previously made to teams, Lebron donated all proceeds of "The Decision" to the Boys & Girls Club of America to assist underprivileged kids, Lebron honored his entire 7 year contract with the Cavaliers (leading the Cavs to an NBA Finals appearance and several winning seasons), and Lebron voluntarily participated in a sign and trade (which he didn't have to do) to make sure the Cleveland Cavaliers could receive several future draft picks for his departure.
Three years ago, Lebron James publicly agreed with you and apologized for how he chose to leave Cleveland. Despite his apology, most people who would gladly receive forgiveness, are unwilling to give it.
Despite being the most athletic and arguably the best player in the NBA, Lebron continues to do something most superstars never do: turn his weaknesses into strengths. You criticize him for not having a post game, so he works on it and is now one of the most efficient scorers in the NBA. You pick on his jumpshot and he now shoots over 45% on jumpers, and over 39% on 3point shots. Lebron has every excuse to be complacent, but he chooses to be the opposite. He's fast, but he works on being faster. Strong, but he works on getting stronger. Smart, but he works on being smarter. Versatile, but he works on being more versatile. Giving, but he works on being more giving. A leader, but he works on being a better leader. A father, but he works on being a better father. A role model, but he works on being a better role model. What other superstar in the NBA or any other sport does this? I'm waiting...
You criticize Lebron for making a spectacle of his choice (and right) to leave Cleveland, yet watch National Signing Day year after year and say nothing. The truth is that people don't really have a problem with "The Decision," they have a problem with what the decision was: Miami. Had LeBron chosen Cleveland or your own team, you would be his biggest supporter, applaud him for his charity, praise him for being a great role model on and off the court, root for his success, and not be what you presently are: a hater and a hypocrite.
The truth is that we live in a culture that criticizes people and teams for being excellent rather than marvel at the preparation, consistency, and dedication it takes to reach and sustain such heights of dominance. We fabricate reasons why we simply cannot root for or appreciate such teams. The Yankees, the Patriots, and now the Heat. We just love to hate'em. But ask yourself why you actually hate them? Then back it up with facts, concrete arguments, and sound reasoning.
Greek Philosopher Aristotle once said: "excellence is not an act, but a habit." And the truth is that LeBron James and the Miami Heat are only guilty of making their pursuit of excellence a habit over the past 4 years. Like the Heat, the Spurs have lived by the same doctrine since 1999. And last night was evidence of that fact.
No one is asking you to like LeBron James or the Miami Heat, but as a person aspiring for individual success in your own life, you should at least respect them. If your victories can only be defined through the losses of others, your trophies might as well be made of sand.
So before you criticize the Miami Heat, understand your NBA history, congratulate the San Antonio Spurs, and root as passionately for your team to get better as you root against the Miami Heat to get worse.
By Ecclesiaste Guerrier