I’m not a big LeBron James hater. I think “The Decision” was ill-conceived and egomaniacal, but I’m grateful for it because it provided an awesome test of our supposed sports mores. We say we value teamwork, cooperation, and personal sacrifice in the name of winning championships. So James made a move that embodied all of those values and he’s getting killed for it. Yes, the process was sloppy, but the result is exactly what most of us say we want from our most gifted athletes. Frankly, I share James’ befuddlement about what is expected of him.
But I do hate Miami Heat “fans.” I want to say “Miami fans,” but apparently Dolphins fans are quite loyal and the Marlins’ ownership situation complicates the picture enough for me to overlook their terrible attendance. Heat “fans,” however, are conclusively frontrunners. If the team is good, the place is packed. If the team is average or worse, it’s a tomb. And even if it’s the new-look Heat’s home opener against an in-state rival that also happens to be an elite team, well, that won’t quite do it either, since it’s a Friday night and Heat “fans” have better things to do.
Some of this criticism is rooted in sour grapes, of course. I know this would never have happened in New York, that Madison Square Garden would have been rocking in a way that I haven’t heard since the lockout-shortened ’98-’99 season. Oh well. At least New York now has a young, interesting, and likable Knicks team that is constructed to win games instead of to sell off bad assets.