Everything about the Miami Heat as of the 2010-2011 NBA season has been scrutinized. Everything from our free-agency coup d' etat to our obnoxious celebrating has been criticized by just about everyone outside of the 305 and 954 area codes.
As a long-time Heat fan, I take offense to a lot of the criticism about the atmosphere in Miami. At the same time however, I could not agree more with some of the comments made by the likes of Charles Barkley, and for me to make a statement like that, I really need to bite my tongue.
In this slideshow, will take you through some of the facts and myths about Miami Heat fans.
Sorry Chuck, the picture speaks a thousand words, or in this case, ten thousand.
That's how many people sat outside in the hot Florida sun for two hours and stood on their feet through the entire Game 5 in Chicago. With 2:30 left in the fourth and down 12 points, I saw the looks on these people's faces. They were sad, they were disappointed, they were heartbroken. Not once, did they stop booing the lone Chicago Bulls fan in the crowd, also big props to them for not ever threatening or mocking that lone Bulls fan about anything other than Miami vs. Chicago. But most of all, props to them for not ever thinking the Bulls were going to win this game. "It's not over" was a common chant that night.
During and after the Heat's comeback, these 10,000 people were jumping and screaming so loud, I'm sure anyone with a Richter scale would have been impressed.
What do you see when you look at the picture above?
I see a blot of empty seats in the 100 section. The Miami crowd absolutely loves to arrive late for whatever reason. Why this happens is beyond me, but what I can tell you is that the one and only street that runs by the American Airlines Arena is beyond crowded on game nights.
What the picture doesn't show you is the fans in the 400 and 300 sections. The nosebleeds are always, and I mean always, packed from the tip-off to the end of the fourth quarter. Not everyone in Miami is a celebrity, and thanks to our newest attractions, the tickets in the lower bowl are not affordable to most people who are blue collar workers and blue collar fans.
Surprise, Cleveland, your thoughts on The King reach the sunshine state.
Of course, no one would ever boo the guy responsible for the Heat's recent success. That doesn't mean he is loved by all in Miami. After the initial shock of "The Decision" even I asked: "what is this guy doing?" He should have stayed in Cleveland, of course, that period is long gone, and I myself have jumped on the LeBandwagon despite his struggles. However, James has not captured the hearts of Miami like his counterpart, Dwyane Wade.
Here in Miami, Dwyane is the first-born child who can do no wrong, James is the red-headed step-child who you love but will never see in the same light as your own flesh and blood.
They're everywhere. People who can't tell you how many championships the Heat have won despite the lone banner hanging from the ceiling and people who were shocked this postseason after finding out Jermaine O'neal and Shawn Marion had left Miami.
Miami does have its fair share, and by fair I mean enormous number, of fair-weather fans, and this is something that plagues the Heat franchise. However, there are a lot of us who bleed white, black and red. Mostly red.
Here are the two that started it all. Patrick Ewing and Alonzo Mourning.
At every Miami home game against the Knicks, cheers can often be heard after a good New York play. This has led to a popular belief that Miami is full of New York fans and that American Airlines Arena is Madison Square Garden Junior. However, ask any Knicks fan in Miami how many games they've been to. Most of them will say just one. We are not nice people, we don't want you in our arena and we absolutely hate the Knicks.
The reason America believes Miami fans are the worst, is because we've never had the opportunity that Game 6 has presented us.
Come Sunday at 8 p.m Eastern time, our fans, bandwagoners or not, will show America just how loud the AAA can get. Win or lose, our fans will scream their lungs out til the bitter end.