Cheering for the Heat just seems wrong. I want to hate them. Watching them struggle is strangely satisfying. A part of me wants to see LeBron, shrouded in all his smugness, and the rest of his Heat-mates go down in flames. Their early struggles were seen as a sign of hope that somehow, this overly-touted and overly-talented team, could completely combust.
“Maybe they’ll miss the playoffs entirely, that’ll show them,” I found myself thinking as the team tangled with early season turbulence.
But what fun would that be? An unsuccessful regular season doesn’t do this squad justice. No, in order for me to feel fulfilled as a fan, I want to see this team falter when it matters most. See, I could celebrate every regular season loss; rejoice every time a team that was rejected by LeBron this past summer got a little bit of revenge. But the truth is a subpar regular season could still land them a playoff spot in the shallow Eastern Conference, and thus a crack at the Finals with lowered expectations. No, that wouldn’t be fitting.
The fact is that for a true Heat hater their success is exciting. Each win adds to the growing promise of possibility, and a building confidence in the team itself and their virtually fictional fan base, which, while flaunting three of the game’s biggest stars, still needs to be urged to “fan up;” disgusting. A true Heat hater still sees the flaws in the franchise, and no twenty-game regular season winning streak can cause me to overlook them. So, if they surge through the regular season, that will only lead to a bigger disappointment come spring time. An Eastern Conference Finals collapse against a team such as the Celtics seems as though it would resonate much more than a rough regular season.
This attitude has allowed me to openly enjoy watching them play, and Miami has catapulted to the top of my League Pass list, as I look forward to their games almost regardless of who they’re playing. The Heat themselves have shown similar indifference towards their opposition, ripping off 18 wins in their last 19 games, and effectively ending all swirling speculation about Coach Spoelstra’s job security. But like I said, give them the regular season streaks and individual accolades and save the judgment until June.
The hater in me still sees the dearth of frontcourt depth, believes Boston is better, and needs to see proof, aka a ring, to believe that the big three can coexist all the way to a championship.
So far so good in South Beach, but let’s see if everyone’s singing the same tune come the summer. Hater or not, one thing’s for certain; I’ll be watching.