If you checked out my profile, you may be thinking, "Why on Earth does this Jersey boy root for all New York teams and the Miami Heat?"
Well, I'm going to answer that question for you because I think it really says a lot about me as a fan.
There was a time in my childhood when I rooted for the local basketball teams, but was too young to have called myself a diehard. My oldest brother was a Knicks supporter and the brother in between us was a Nets fanatic.
All I heard growing up was Ewing, Riley, Coleman, and Petrovic.
Then, as my 10th birthday was approaching in October of 1993, my aunt had agreed to buy me a Starter Jacket. (Remember those?) Basketball was the sport I loved more than anything and I had even started a pretty nice card collection.
The problem was this—both of my brothers already had jackets. One had a Knicks jacket, the other a Nets. Now, I'm not one to copy somebody else's flavor, so I had to make a decision.
Honestly, it wasn't too hard to find my new favorite team. Grandmama (aka Larry Johnson) commercials where all over the place, and the Hornets had this young stud named Alonzo Mourning who happened to be from the same school as a player I already liked in Ewing.
The Hornets were a team with a short history, so I wasn't jumping on any bandwagons, which I feel is a huge no-no in the "Code of Sports Fandom."
A few days later, I'm walking through the mall and I see this 'Zo jersey staring right at me. With $100 in pocket (thanks, Dad), I decided to get a fresh jersey to match my new jacket.
So, I have my new team and my new favorite player all set up. I didn't know much about them, but I was going to run with it.
Thankfully, I made a great choice.
Mourning played "The Enemy" on the court, but was one of the best role models a young child could have. He was hardworking, relentless, and determined.
It wasn't his talent that made me fall in love, but rather the way he approached the game. I mean, how many guys in the history of the league have tried to block every shot during an All-Star Game?
Mourning was a guy who didn't take anything for granted. He played every possession as if it were his last. As a fan, what more could you ask for in a player?
Then, the trade happened.
This guy I had become so passionate about (I still have my binder of 'Zo cards) was changing uniforms, so I decided to do the same.
Since that day, my faithfulness to the Miami Heat has never wavered—not during those Knicks series, not during the kidney disease, not even during his Nets years. I was already too invested in the Miami Heat, and too old to switch teams again.
I had been through some good times, and a lot of bad ones. I even cried after Weatherspoon's airball.
So here I am, a diehard Miami Heat fan who has never been to Miami. I catch as many Heat games as I can when they're in the area, and I follow nearly every game on-line. Because I don't have the access to watch every game, I tend to take a more statistical approach in my observations.
So there it is, my story of how a Jersey boy became obsessed with a team thousands of miles away. If you love the Heat as much as I do, look back for more stuff in the future.
There are tons of things I have to say, and a few of them might actually be interesting!