2012 NBA Champions: The Miami Heat

Chris Bosh and the Heat earned the 2012 NBA Championship.
(image by Lynne Sladky/AP)

Okay. Let’s get the obvious stuff out of the way.

The Miami are the new NBA Champions. No denying that. They blew out the Thunder after outscoring them by just FIVE POINTS total thru the first four games.

Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade both came to play, combining for 44 points, 15 rebounds, 5 blocks, and 3 steals.

Mike Miller hit SEVEN effin’ THREES. It’s hard enough to beat the Heat when both Bosh and Wade play well, but when Miller (or someone else) starts getting hot, too, then why even play?

And, of course, even I cannot deny it, LeBron James was hands down the best player in
Game 5, and the best player in the series, too. A triple-double line to clinch his first title? A blowout win against a higher-seeded team?

Objectively speaking (please appreciate this, it won’t happen often when I write about Miami), this title romp dispels LBJ’s image as a crunch time choker. After the Game 1 loss in Oklahoma City, he owned up to the responsibility of guarding Kevin Durant. He did well. He made things happen. Clearly, he is the most talented player on the planet today.

And (gripe gripe gripe) now he has a ring to show for it as well.

And, no, I will not refer to this as an *asterisk* championship.

I will count it.

Yes, it was a truncated season.

Yes, both D-Rose and Big D, arguably the biggest stumbling blocks in Miami’s way out East, were out of commission in the Playoffs.

Yes, there appeared to be some bum calls.

BUT, still, Miami won. They earned this title.

MIke Miller's seven triples certainly helped Miami
dispose of OKC in Game 5.
(image by Wilfredo Lee/AP)
They showed that, at least for now, they are the best team in basketball.

Now, LeBron James is not just a super-scorer, not just a high school phenom, not just the self-styled King, not just an MVP.

He’s also a winner.

So there. Congratulations to you, Mr. James, and your posse.

The only silver lining, really, is Coach Spo winning one. The first Fil-American to win an NBA title. Awesome.

Now if we can only get him to come home, bring the Larry O’Brien, and maybe have a go at coaching the Philippine Team.

Having written all those things (and, trust me, my mouth was frothing as I wrote them), I still cannot say I’m a Heat convert. I will still not cheer for them. I will still hope the Charlotte Bobcats and/or the Washington Wizards beat them at least once each next season. I will still revel in every humiliating defeat in South Beach.

Because, and you should know this faithful reader, I dislike them with a passion.

Not on the level of talent, because they’re uber-talented. Not because they’re a bunch of criminals running around selling drugs or abusing ladies. They’re not that.

I dislike them on the level of principle.

Because I still believe they represent the biggest thing I don’t like about pro ball – that a player is ultimately defined/judged on whether he wins a title or not. It’s title-chasing or bust.

It used to be more than that. It used to be how you left everything out on the floor. It used to be how you respected your opponents, teammates, coaches, organization, and fans. It used to be about playing for a purpose much higher, much more intangible than a trophy, or an endorsement, or even worldwide recognition or validation.

It used to be about being a great role model.

I guess fans will see Miami winning as an example of triumphing against all the backlash and hate stemming from a mishandled 2010-2011 campaign. For them, for James, this title is redemption. The Heat are now role models for a lot of people. In many places, LeBron is a hero. Just not for me.

Winning won’t change things much. I still see them with the same eyes.

Winner -- Yes. Clutch -- OK. Hero -- Not so fast.
(image by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
When Kobe won his titles, I respected him as a winner, but I never really did, or ever will, put him on a personal pedestal reserved for people I hopelessly admire.

Same for LeBron. Respect as a winner – given.

But nothing more. (yet)

I’m looking for heroes, and he just doesn’t do it for me.

Still, congratulations Miami. You won this fair and square. My heroes will come back and beat you next season.

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3 Comment

If you look at Lebrons life, he is a hero. A kid, who grew up underprivileged, without a father, becomes the biggest name in sports at age 18 and gets drafted into the NBA by his Hometown team. He is a physical freak of nature with a perfect combination of size, strength and speed. Lebron has been the hero, he's been the villain, he's prevailed through adversity. The only reason people hate on this future Hall of Famer is because he left a Cleveland organization that was built to suck, they were the Bobcats of the NBA before the Bobcats came to be. He left it to get a championship that has alluded his entire career. Guaranteed anyone under the age of 30 was only a fan of Cleveland because of Lebron. Put it into perspective, would you blame anyone from the Bobcats for leaving after 7 years of trying to bring a championship to them? Hell at least the Bobcats TRY to get talent. Sometimes I forget the Cavs exist, they should be happy that they'll be remembered forever, not for ever winning a championship but for being the team that lost Lebron James, one of the greatest players to ever live.

That's a comment from Andrew Hutch on the Bleacher report column you yourself cited. LeBron plays his heart out every single game since the start of this season. The man has definitely change, especially in his recent interviews. This season Lebron has been the greatest of role models among the NBA superstars, along with Durant. Did you see the way they hugged after the time went triple zeroes? THat's respect for each other. LeBron's a changed man, he became a man this season, you should give him his due.


I don't doubt he has had his own share of adversity, then and now.

He IS a freakish athlete, a once-in-a-generation talent.

His greatness as an athlete has never been an issue.

His capability to carry a team to a title is now a non-issue.

What I've really found difficult to embrace are some of the choices he has made in the last couple of seasons, and the way he made them.

Before he left Cleveland, I was a BIG fan. Even if he was being called a brat by USA Basketball. Even if he was already being hounded by the "choker" label.

But I've always sensed that simmering tension in his persona -- that lingering feeling that his status as one of the greats will be validated only with an NBA Championship. I felt that this notion slowly overwhelmed him.

Instead of him bringing a title to his hometown, it looked like things turned the other way around -- that his hometown, his team, the organization to which he belonged was responsible to BRING HIM the title. It slowly looked like he was entitled to win. Make LeBron win, or he leaves. He never said it that way, never tried to package it that way, but that's what I got.

And then he did leave. And how, too! So much fanfare. So much pomp. So much trumpeting.

He has since regretted the way he made The Decision. He has since expressed his pain in leaving Ohio. He has since discarded the "villain" persona in favor of a humbler, softer veneer. I no longer think of him as a "basketball heel."

And I'm sure to many people, perhaps Andrew Hutch and you included, he stands for something noble, something great, something admirable.

Just not TO ME.

He's your hero.

He's just not mine.

In the same way Kobe is a hero to gazillions of hoops fans, LeBron is a hero to just as many. I consider both players to be winners. Both are great athletes. I'm sure both are respectable people outside of the arena.

Both will be HoFers.

Somewhere out there, someone has a KB24 poster and that someone looks at it every time he needs inspiration.

Somewhere out there, someone has an LBJ poster and that someone looks at it every time he needs inspiration.

I'm just not that someone.