How the Miami Heat Will Forever Shed Their Villain Image in 2013

Joshua CarrollCorrespondent IIOctober 31, 2012

MIAMI, FL - OCTOBER 30:  LeBron James #6 of the Miami Heat looks at his 2012 NBA Championship ring following a ceremony prior to the game against the Boston Celtics at American Airlines Arena on October 30, 2012 in Miami, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images)
Chris Trotman/Getty Images

The NBA has set out to make LeBron James its poster child once again. This was evident by the new commercials that flooded television on opening day as the Heat downed the Boston Celtics and we finally saw The King crowned.

On the same day, we witnessed the new look Lakers get run over by a battered Dallas Mavericks team and I couldn't help but notice the negative backlash the Lakers received all over Twitter, and even from some of their own fans. 

Most NBA enthusiasts understand that the season is a process, but this sequence of events brought some other questions to mind, in particular, "How much longer can the Heat truly be portrayed as the villains of the NBA?" 

How can you hate on a guy like LeBron James who has been scrutinized more than any other player arguably in the history of sports? With the weight of winning a championship lifted off his shoulders, it seems as though LeBron is back to being the guy we saw in Cleveland, only better. Now that's scary.

Finally people are beginning to understand that James is not just another freakish athlete, but has the potential to be one of, if not the greatest to ever play the game when all is said and done.

He can also thank Dwight Howard for putting his "Decision" in perspective. Howard prolonged what was ultimately the inevitable by claiming loyalty and faith in his team, while James took one day to tell the world and that was that.

LeBron has grown up over these past few years thanks to guidance from Pat Riley, Erik Spoelstra, Dwyane Wade and the rest of his teammates and as a result has earned back a lot of the respect of those who lost it when he elected to play in Miami.

With more and more super teams being formed across the league, it's becoming clear that the Heat were just the first of what has no turned into a trend league-wide.

Players want to put themselves in the best position to win and no matter what way you look at it, that's what LeBron James has done.

That is why it's time for the Heat to shed this village image once and for all here in 2013.

I mean, come on. Bosh is a proud father of a recent newborn. Wade wrote a book about being a good father to his two sons. James is all smiles placing his championship ring next to his gold medal and gold trophies.

These guys aren't malicious players on the court by any means. They go out, take care of business, put on a good show and dance in the locker room afterwards. There are so many more teams deserving of your hate. 

Just something to think about as the season moves forward. The Heat have the opportunity to do something special as a team and since we're being honest here, let me let you in on a little secret: Your hate will not affect their plans one bit. Time to find a new hobby.