It’s Not LeBron, It’s the Heat

As we wait for Game 7 of the NBA Finals, we had a revelation.

We really don’t care if LeBron James wins a second title with Miami tonight, but the thought of the people in south Florida celebrating a second consecutive title is down right nauseating.

First of all, Miami is a terrible sports city when you come right down to it.  And the fact that a bunch of people left game six early speaks directly to that.  They don’t share the passion for sports that midwestern cities like Cleveland have.  To them, it’s just a thing to do, a place to go.

That’s just the fans.  The reason for rooting against the Heat have more to do with the franchise, and the way the team was put together.

It starts with Pat Riley, who is most famous for coaching the “Showtime” Lakers of Magic Johnson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, and James Worthy, but we remember that he was a central figure in the era that almost killed basketball, when he was coaching the New York Knicks.

Those Knicks teams forced the league to re-examine the rules about illegal defense, and they played thug basketball, with Riley instructing his squad to foul on pretty much every possession, and daring the referees to call it every time down the floor.

Of course, they didn’t because games would have lasted four hours, so “Riles” got away with one, although the Knicks never won a title.

Riley did finally win another title as coach, with the Heat, but did so forcing out Stan Van Gundy as coach, and taking over a team led by an aging Shaquille O’Neal and Dwyane Wade.

And although the league has never acknowledged it, there was tampering involved in putting the current Heat team together with Riley allegedly contacting LeBron James during the season before he became a free agent.

Sure, the players themselves (James, Wade, and Chris Bosh) probably talked about it during their time together in the 2008 Olympics, but many feel Riley was checking on the players during the season.

Then there is Wade, who is right now a broken down version of the great player he once was, but is a guy who for whatever reason gets the benefit of the doubt from officials on a regular basis.

When James was with the Cavs, there was a game the Heat won late because the refs continually sent Wade to the line even though in many cases, he created contact or a Cleveland player was called for a foul when he was getting out-of-the-way.

If Miami wins tonight, Wade will preen around the court like he is the guy responsible for the crown, much like he did after the Eastern Conference title.  He should have been reminded that he played one good game in the series.

And then there is Bosh, a player much highly regarded than he should be.  He disappears within the game on a regular basis.

Then you have Shane Battier, who may be falling down instinctively right now.  Ray Allen, who turned his back on his compadre in Boston to chase another ring, and Eric Spoelstra, who the NBA butt kissing media would have you believe is a great coach.

If the Heat fail tonight, the blame should be placed on Riley, who didn’t put a strong enough team around James, much like Danny Ferry didn’t in Cleveland.

Instead, James will be skewered, and that’s not fair.

And this is coming from someone who still can’t forget the knife he put in the backs of Clevelanders a few years ago.



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