NBA Schedule: Why Miami Heat and Cleveland Cavaliers Won't Be Rivals
The Cavaliers and Heat will meet for the first time on December 2. This day will certainly be marked on NBA calenders as the annual Benedict Arnold-South Beach Bowl.
There will be well-deserved hype coming into the first encounter between the two teams. However, the initial emotional response to the eventual match-up between the Cavaliers (LeBron's former team) and the Heat (LeBron's current team) will far exceed any enjoyment that will come out of the actual contests.
Anybody who has his or her blood pumping when conjuring up a possible Joey Graham/LeBron James match-up is not fully aware of the intricacies of an exciting match-up.
Here are five reasons why the Cavaliers-Heat match-up will not be a rivalry:
No. 5: Location
Great rivalries have often stemmed from two teams trying to conquer a regional fan base. The Spurs-Mavs, Yankees-Red Sox and the exciting albeit short-lived Lakers-Kings rivalry saw teams competing for a similar regional fan base.
Cleveland and Miami don't have too many similarities starting with the mere aesthetics of the cities. Cleveland can politely be called a more laid back city that was recently classified as Forbes as one of the cities with the most unbearable winter seasons juxtaposed with Miami, which still has its star-studded clubs playing Soulja Boy's "Pretty Boy Swag" in the heart of the winter.
No. 4: Players
A great rivalry features match-ups between the preeminent players in the sport going head-to-head in an attempt to ascend to the sport's pinnacle via said match-up.
The Patriots-Colts rivalry is also a rivalry between Tom Brady and Peyton Manning in an annual battle to see who is the league's best quarterback.
I think it is fair to say that, regardless of the outcome of the initial Cavs-Heat game, people are not going to be placing Mo Williams ahead of Dwayne Wade in arguments for the league's best player.
No. 3: History
The Heat-Cavs match-up hasn't been an eye-grabbing match-up even in the midst of pretty solid, almost decade-long runs of prominence by both teams. The Heat won an NBA championship and the Cavaliers have trotted out multiple 60-plus win teams, but there is no ill-will between the two franchises.
After the bluster of Dan Gilbert's letter subsides and the populace of Cleveland sweeps away the burnt LeBron James' Cavs jerseys, there really isn't any history to support a rivalry that doesn't have a foundation other than one fan base being really disappointed and one fan base being really ecstatic for the possibilities of their futures.
No. 2: Lack of Emotion
The most gritty individuals involved in the Heat-Cavaliers match-up are people that will (hopefully) never be on the floor during the match-up: Pat Riley and Dan Gilbert.
For a rivalry to spark, there have to be players willing to express their hatred for the opposition.
Although the city of Cleveland isn't exactly enamored with the off-season decisions of LeBron, most of the Cavs' players aren't the type to take a Flagrant 2 on LeBron in tribute to Cleveland's feelings towards their ex-savior.
And in all honesty, the Heat super-trio seems too concerned about popping champagne and enjoying weekends in Vegas to give that much thought to the concerns of Anderson Varejao and Daniel Gibson.
No. 1: Impact
The impact of the Heat-Cavaliers "rivalry" is going to be minimal at best.
The Miami Heat are competing for an NBA championship; the Cleveland Cavaliers are competing to try not to have the most lottery balls in next year's draft.
At the end of the season, the Miami Heat are going to be cruising towards a top-seed in the Eastern Conference, complete with elaborate pre-game celebrations and handshakes.
Meanwhile the Cleveland Cavaliers will still be answering questions about the after-shock of LeBron James' departure.
The match-up will not have any impact on the Eastern Conference seedings and, consequently, will not matter in the grand scheme of the NBA.