The too-easily described “hatred” of the Heat has been disproportionately probed, turning a winding, winded parade of sportswriters into unlicensed psychologists. But the analysis has mostly missed the point about why Miami is epicenter of the most interesting team in America as the NBA Finals commence here Tuesday against Dallas.
It isn’t what LeBron James did to Cleveland, the default starting point for all the examining. It is bigger than that.
It is what Miami, this franchise, has done to sports’ status quo and standard operating procedures. Those things were broken like Cavaliers fans’ hearts.
Rules were not broken, much as others might wish, but unwritten rules sure were. Old assumptions were.
You can say the Heat is hated and pin it on LeBron and The Decision, but that’s too easy. Hatred might still apply in Cleveland, the bitter city that allowed itself to be negatively defined by one athlete’s departure, but elsewhere it has become far closer to envy that Miami inspires.
All of that booing might sound like rage, but is closer to jealousy.
Why? Because the Heat had the audacity, the planning, the ingenuity and the daring to make all of this happen. To change all the rules.
And other teams didn’t.
To the haters: Your team didn’t.
The old rule was you got better gradually. You built through the draft. Maybe you got lucky with one guy in free agency. You couldn’t afford to be too daring; the system limited you. And all this was orchestrated by someone in a suit and tie.