In sports, fans often search for clearly-defined narratives pitting heroes versus villains, positioning one player or team as the bad guy(s) they love to root against.
The perfect villain narrative was born on July 8, the eve of LeBron James' televised soap opera "The Decision," where he announced his signing with the Miami Heat. He became public enemy number one in the minds of countless NBA fans during the primetime television spectacle, accused of spurning the city of Cleveland by departing without remorse and deciding to join forces with Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh in South Beach. This created a super-team that immediately became the central focus of much of the NBA's media coverage leading into the new season.
Now that the 2010-2011 season is underway, the focus has shifted from off-court drama to how a team with LeBron, Wade and Bosh can perform over 82 games, and whether their egos and alpha-male tendencies on the court can co-exist. But plenty of animosity for King James remains, lingering in the minds of many fans and analysts across the league.
Even though the Heat are currently the clear villains, these types of roles can shift on a dime in fans' minds. Feelings of love and hate among the general sports-watching public are often transient, and as a result, there remain opportunities for LeBron James and the Miami Heat to transform themselves from villains into heroes.
Here we'll go through 20 ways the Superfriends can win over the haters and become the heroes of the NBA season.