The Miami Heat will be the most compelling team week in and week out for the season. Media outlets around the country will constantly be watching and scrutinizing every win, loss, and essentially everything they do.
Of course, this is all for good reason.
Two of the three—or four depending on where you place Kevin Durant—best players in the league are teamed up together. Plus, there's Chris Bosh—who is great in his own right, but not a franchise player like he claimed he wanted to be before signing as the third wheel—rounding out the roster.
ESPN got the ball rolling this summer when they partnered up—and I use that term liberally—with LeBron James to air "The Decision". For a good part of the summer, nearly half of Sports Center was dedicated to the NBA free agency, and LeBron James in particular. The sports media giant even pandered to LeBron, pulling a story that painted James' life off the court in a less than flattering light.
Media outlets—from the world of sports to even celebrity gossip websites like TMZ—were centered on the "LeBacle". Open a magazine or newspaper, and expect to see an article harping on the subject. Visit a website, and you'll see James' name plastered everywhere. Flip to any sports program on TV, and you'll undoubtedly see his face.
To further show how enamored they are with the Heat, ESPN went ahead and created a section dedicated to all things Miami on their website called the Heat Index. They even have a nauseating slogan—"Your Daily Heat Check"—accompanying it.
Yes, that means 24/7, 365 days a year, there will be something to read about regarding the Heat. If they're not playing any games, then they'll probably turn their attention to where James went for dinner last night and whether or not he had dessert with his meal.
The point being is that it doesn't matter what is actually happening. If there's no real news to report, the most trivial bit of information could make headlines.
While anyone who watches sports generally has an affinity for ESPN, they take some things too far.
Look no further than Brett Favre as proof of this.
The media sensation over Favre's decision—or indecision—was blown out of proportion.
Was it really fair that he caught so much flak for wanting to play a game that he dedicated his life to? Absolutely not.
Favre was passionate about football to his very core, and if he can compete at a high level—or at least play better than the Vikings' backup, Tavaris Jackson—who are we to tell him to retire?
When you over saturate the market with anything, it becomes stale, or just plain annoying. This may very well be the case with the Heat for the next six years.
It certainly doesn't help that a slew of nicknames—awful ones might I add—have already been bestowed upon Miami's very own "Big Three". Miami Thrice? Makes no sense. Three Kings? Well, let's not even get started with that one.
As it stands now, LeBron will be the focal point of all the attention or—in many cases—hate. Every time LeBron touched the ball in the Heat's opening night loss to the Celtics, he was greeted with the raucous roar of boos—or chants of overrated—filling up the TD Garden.
However, his two other high profile teammates have largely been granted a free pass. Dwyane Wade is one of the most popular and well-liked athletes, while Bosh is seen mostly as their lapdog.
The Miami Heat and ESPN's Heat Index are going nowhere. They'll be waiting on and covering South Beach for the next six years.
All the talk and criticism up until this point is only a small sample of what is to come. Even after the dust settled in the aftermath of "The Decision", it's really only the beginning. The Heat have a huge target painted on their backs and it's there to stay for the long haul.
The onslaught has truly only just begun. Are you ready for it?