When Chris Bosh, Dwyane Wade and LeBron James all took their talents to South Beach this summer, the rally at the American Airlines Arena was impressive.
Thousands of fans came to support the free agency coup that Pat Riley amazingly managed to pull off.
But what fans wouldn't?
No matter your opinion of the talent of the Miami Thrice or your thoughts on how team chemistry will influence the Heat's ability to win, every NBA fan acknowledges the excitement of having two of the best players in the league as well as a top five power forward on the court to start the game.
Yet, Miami fans have been simply terrible in supporting their team.
Fans show up late, leave early, and often fail to enthusiastically support players when the team has been struggling.
Consequently, the Miami Heat have rolled out their "Fan Up Miami" program to attempt to encourage Heat fans to be better supporters of their team.
Included in the "Fan Up Miami" program are:
"Fan Up means being in your seat for tip-off...and staying there until the final buzzer"
"Fan Up means standing up and making some noise for your Miami Heat"
"Fan Up means there is nothing fashionable about showing up late"
"Fan Up means the early bird gets the goodies (we'll provide the goodies)"
The promotion is summed up by the line: "It's time to show that HEAT fans do deserve this team, and this is an opportunity. It's time to show what real Miami fans are made of."
The fact that the Miami Heat have to roll out such a plan is absolutely embarrassing.
Whether or not you believe that the Heat have the best roster in the league, Cleveland was coming out to see LeBron James. They demonstrated true, albeit irrational, emotion when they burned his jerseys and made videos lampooning him.
The late 1990s were the glory days of the Miami Heat fan. The passion seen in mutual dislike between Knicks and Heat fans is something Miami has been missing since moving into the AAA from the Miami Arena.
Even the NBA Championship run in 2006 lacked the same intensity demonstrated after P.J. Brown threw Charlie Ward in the stands and Jeff Van Gundy was dragged by Alonzo Mourning.
This is by no means an indictment of all Miami Heat fans.
Some Heat fans are the most passionate, knowledgeable fans in the league.
Maybe it's the fact that prices are so ridiculously high.
Maybe there are simply too many regular season games to show enthusiasm for—After all, who has the energy on a Tuesday night to yell at the top of their lungs to support the Heat against the Sacramento Kings?
Still, the fact remains that the Heat fans absence of emotion for this team has been symbolic of their 7-4 start to the year.
The Heat have one of the best teams in the league this year, it's time for the people of Miami to start acting like it.
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