What the Deuce: More Like Blue Hot or Even Red

Monday, June 12, 2006

More Like Blue Hot or Even Red

At the end of The Perfect Storm, facing certain death, Bobby, tries to convince Capt. Tyne to swim out of the fishing boat in hopes of surviving. Initially, it seems that Tyne agrees but when Bobby presumably takes his last breath in hopes and goes underwater, Tyne stays in the sinking vessel. The Captain always goes down with the ship. It’s the honorable and loyal thing to do.

Although the Heat players will play to the end, I’m not so sure about their fans. If the Heat is the Titanic, the fans are Leo and Kate, and that’s being generous. At least Kate went back for Leo. By now, Heat fans are denouncing their team as fast as Republicans denounce gay marriage.

This is drastically different than 10 days ago when after dispatching the Pistons, people were brimming with confidence saying the Heat would take out the Mavs. But why should anyone be surprised? I’ve attended 3 Pistons-Heat games down here in the last year and a half and my experience is a microcosm of the attitude here. During the course of the two and half hours it takes for an NBA contest to unfold, I was heckled when the Heat were up (it didn’t matter the score was 18-12), left alone when they were losing or when the Pistons made a run. If the Heat were losing with a couple minutes to go, the fans were heading home. If they were up with a couple minutes to go, they were heading home. I can’t really blame them…the traffic down here is intolerable.

My point is this: The hoops scene here is like any other scene down here. People gravitate to what’s hot, popular, or trendy. During the regular season when the Heat was struggling, fans would regularly dump on the team saying it would never beat Detroit. Games were never sold out. This town is full of front runners and bandwagon jumpers, the worst kind of fans there are. And what’s worse, they know it and don’t deny it. People who would regularly harass me about the Pistons losing now won’t even mention the NBA Finals. It’s quite amusing. In fact, I couldn’t be happier. Normally, after the Pistons are eliminated, I don’t really care who wins the Larry O’ Brien Trophy. This year, I do. I would rather see a team that had die hard fans and a passionate owner win over a team that is made up of players trolling for rings subject to a fan base that’s more fickle than a 12 year old girl.

Maybe Bill Simmons was right. Maybe Dallas is not going to win because they are deeper, younger, or even quicker. Maybe they are going to win because Miami has such bad hoops karma. So here are a few words of advice: Don’t tell me that the Triple A is hotter than Staples when LA won 3 straight. Don’t tell me your franchise is better than Detroit’s when you’ve won a grand total of ZERO championships. Don’t tell me that you were a Heat fan “back in the day.” But most importantly, if you want the Basketball Gods to look down upon you favorably, go down with the ship, go down with the ship.


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