LeBron James to Miami Heat: The New Villains of the NBA
It's a fact of sports. Everyone loves to hate a team that is too good.
In college basketball, it's Duke. There's something about preppy smart kids having a great basketball team year after year that gets the blood boiling. Shouldn't they be in the library studying or something?
In the MLB, it's the Yankees. It will always be the Yankees. They spend more than any other team. They always get the players they want and they just flat-out win—a lot. No one wants to root for a team that could probably contend with the National League All-Star Team.
In the NFL, it's the Patriots. Or at least it has been for the past few seasons. Come on, a perfect season? Tom Brady shattering all sorts of sacred passing records with the suddenly spectacular Randy Moss, who the Pats got for nothing? We were all happy when the Giants beat them in the Super Bowl.
In college football, there are a few teams, such as USC and Notre Dame. Everyone loves that the mighty Fighting Irish are struggling now. The Trojans are always the best in the Pac-10 and therefore they proclaim themselves the best in the nation.
In the NBA, the new villain is the Miami Heat. Forget the Lakers and Celtics. Compared to the Heat, those two teams seem like respectable franchises.
Why are the Heat the newest bad guys on the block? Read on to find out why.
Pat Riley: The Evil Mastermind
Pat Riley was the crafty team president who made the "Miami Thrice" possible, and he deserves all the credit in the world for coming up with a plan and executing it.
Even if that does make him evil.
Look what the guy has done. He builds championship teams as president and then ousts the current head coach to make room for himself on the sidelines. That's what he did in 2006 with Dwyane Wade and Shaquille O'Neal.
Odds are he will do it again, though the trio denies this.
And who can blame him? As an evil mastermind, getting the players to the Heat is only part one of the grand plan. Now he has to make sure they play in a system which will work well for each of them.
I bet he's already coming up with a formula right now.
Riley won't stop with the threesome. He's going to use his shrewdness to get veterans to accept less money and join forces with LeBron James, Wade, and Chirs Bosh in Miami. Mark my words.
Who wants to root for a team like that, led by a guy like Riley? Isn't Stan Van Gundy in Orlando a much more likeable guy?
Dwyane Wade: The Double Agent
I don't care what Wade claims, and neither should you.
Wade never really considered the Chicago Bulls or New York Knicks as options in free agency. Well Maybe as a last resort if Bosh and James teamed up in Cleveland, but that's it.
In fact, rumor has it Wade passed along various teams' pitches to Riley in Miami to use to the Heat's advantage.
No one will ever know if that is true, but from what Wade has said, it seemed like Miami was really his only choice. He went out of his way to criticize the Bulls' management, which could have hurt their chances at getting big free agents.
Worst of all, he used his family as a tool of deception. He said he needed to not make an emotional decision. He had to make his choice on basketball alone.
Then why all the talk of his sons?
Because he needed to sound convincing to the Bulls, especially for a second meeting. He played the role perfectly, just like his commercials with Charles Barkley.
Wade has the image of a great, humble guy. Free agency exposed a side of Wade the public has not really seen before.
Now he's a villain.
Chris Bosh: The Accomplice
Ah, Chris Bosh also known as Wade's lapdog.
He has recently said he was pretty much committed to partnering up with Wade wherever he went. So much for being "the man."
The fact that Wade and Bosh had a tacit agreement early on in the free agent process screams collusion, but because they are players, there is nothing the NBA can do about it. Instead, they got to create their own super team.
Bosh gave teams like Houston hope that they could land him, all the while knowing he was most likely going to Miami with Wade. Real nice. Get franchises and cities excited for nothing.
Not that Bosh cares. He's now happily a third banana who can get his numbers without having to be responsible for carrying his team to victory. He's the best third option in the NBA.
Yet, he's no superstar, even though people proclaim he is. No star would be willing to pair up so quickly with another franchise player.
Then he goes around the Staples Center like he's a big shot. Give me a break. Maybe the title "Poser" fits better than "accomplice."
LeBron James: The Backstabber
I wanted LeBron in Chicago. But I would have respected him staying in Cleveland. I would have understood the moves to New York or New Jersey.
But Miami? Really? That makes me lose respect for the self-proclaimed "King."
That's not even taking into consideration that he ripped the heart out of his home state of Ohio, in front of millions of people on ESPN.
I could not think of a crueler way to say "I'm leaving" than to hype up a one-hour special and then tell the world "I'm taking my talents to South Beach."
Then he has the nerve to say he's given so much to Cleveland, he's given the city "his talents" for seven years. Well, what happened to giving the city a championship?
He strung along so many cities, and you can bet they are nearly as upset as Cleveland. At the very least, he will be hated by Cleveland, Chicago, New York, New Jersey, and Los Angeles. Orlando will hate him for making the Heat the Florida team to watch.
James made himself the most hated player in the NBA for making a spectacle of free agency and choosing to play on Wade's team.
James is the ultimate villain of the NBA right now.
The Heat are the new team everyone loves to hate.
Mike Miller: The Sniper
For all those who said the Heat would have no role players, they have basically acquired the best available shooter on the market.
Mike Miller will wait until the Big Three sign their contracts, but after that will happily join them as part of a five-year, $30 million deal.
Miller is a crafty swingman who was widely considered one of the top free agents left after LeBron made his decision.
Now he has joined the dark side as well.
Sharpshooting role player? Check.
Miller reportedly really wanted to play with LeBron, and it's obvious why. He's getting older and wants to win a championship. Plus, LeBron's slashing will undoubtedly give Miller open three-point opportunities.
He could have been a more instrumental player elsewhere. So Miami essentially killed two birds with one stone. The Heat became a better team, and in the process used their clout to prevent other teams from getting better.
The Bulls, Knicks, and Nets could all use a shooter.
Miller is off the market, and instead will be sniping for the bad guys for years to come.
End Of Bench Players: The Expendibles
Maybe I shouldn't put a picture of Joel Anthony here just yet, because for all we know he could be the starting center for the Heat come October.
Still, it must be annoying for the Heat's second-round picks and whoever else the team picks up to hear the media saying, "It doesn't matter who you put around the Big Three." Even though it's true.
Supposing no solid role players take the minimum deal (because of the new collective bargaining agreement), the remaining roster slots on the Heat will be second-round picks and NBDL players.
Yet it doesn't matter for this villain ring. The rest of the players are the thugs, the foot soldiers, the cronies. James, Wade, and Bosh are the leaders, with Miller somewhere in between.
These bench players are just bodies to fill up the roster, though evil mastermind Riley won't spin it that way.
But the truth is, James is the King. Wade and Bosh are his knights. Miller can be a bishop.
The rest are just pawns.
Erik Spoelstra: The Scapegoat
As predicted here, Riley will eventually be the Miami Heat's head coach. It will just take a losing streak of two or three games before he relieves Erik Spoelstra of his coaching duties.
It's an unfortunate situation for the young coach to be in, because ultimately Riley will overpower him. I imagine something along the lines of "You don't have enough experience to command respect from all these stars" will be Riley's rationale for letting Spoelstra go.
Until then, though, Spoelstra is the lucky guy who got three of the NBA's top 15 players handed to him on a silver platter. If for some reason Riley really does trust him to take the Heat to the NBA Finals, we will still hate him for being the coach of such despised players.
Meanwhile, Jerry Sloan is continuing to do what he does in Utah, but never making it to the NBA Finals.
Dan Gilbert And Cleveland Fans: The Jilted Lovers
We've all read the letter from Cavs majority owner Dan Gilbert by now. And we saw in the last few minutes of "The Decision" that Cavs fans were burning LeBron jerseys.
The city embraced The King, did everything for him, sold out all his home games. And he still spited them.
What more could Gilbert and the Cavs have done? They brought in Shaq and Antawn Jamison. They did everything he could given the small window of time Lebron provided for them.
Now the Cavs have very little flexibility, and the team will struggle to make the playoffs.
The Cavs are victims. The fans are victims. The local businesses are victims.
LeBron James and the Miami Heat just committed a terrible crime.
And we are all witnesses.