After failing to win an NBA championship, the “super friends” become the “super villains,” including in Miami.
I’m not a Heat fan. I was born in Brooklyn and grew up in Denver, so it’s Knicks forever, Nuggets on the bench. But I was persuaded by the argument made by many people, including pop culture critic Toure and Think Progress writer Matthew Yglesias, that the player-made Miami Heat was a triumph of labor over management; of the NBA plantation hands over their overseers.
Both my sons were born in South Florida, so they stuck with the Heat through game after disappointing game, to the bitter end of the NBA finals. And boy, was it bitter. In the end, the Heat failed, massively, to live up to expectations, and LeBron James in particular, is now a villain not just in Cleveland.
Everyone is blaming him, and Dwayne Wade, for lackluster play, lack of heart, failure to deliver, and just plain failure. Pissing away a 15-point lead in the fourth period of game 2, on their home court, and choking on high single-digit leads on the road in Dallas, showed that the Heat are a team that lacks staying power. Snarking about Mavericks star Dirk Nowitzki’s illness showed they also lack some maturity. Maybe the signs were there when LeBron picked the Heat in the first place, by announcing he was taking his talents to “South Beach,” where the parties are, as opposed to “Miami,” where he was actually going.
Still, failure is never the end. For the Heat, it should provide a chance to sober up, reassess what they’re doing, and realize that it takes more than a collection of superstars to win a ring. It takes more than just talent and attitude bundled together. It takes what the Mavericks brought to the table this series: discipline, staying power, and heart.
I had initially thought it would take a couple of years for the Heat to deliver on their promise of winning rings. I still think they will get them. Probably more than one. But clearly, they’re going to have to use this failure and embarrassment as a learning experience, suck it up, move on, and go into the next season with a bit more humility, and a lot more game.
To the links:
Washington Post: failure could define LeBron for a while
Miami Herald’s Greg Cote: Miami didn’t do enough right to fulfill the dream
Miami Herald/Gutierrez: LeBron wasn’t Lebron
USA Today: maybe it’s time for Nowitzki to get himself an agent