2011 NBA Finals: Why Hate for LeBron James and the Miami Heat Is Just Heating Up

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2011 NBA Finals: Why Hate for LeBron James and the Miami Heat Is Just Heating Up
Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

The Dallas Mavericks beat the Miami Heat, winning the 2011 NBA Finals. Veteran players like Dirk Nowitzki, Jason Kidd, Shawn Marion and Tyson Chandler held the Larry O'Brien trophy in their arms like it was a long-lost family member.

After so many years in the NBA and so many failed attempts at winning a title, the veterans on the Mavericks team were finally able to win a championship ring.

Meanwhile, the players in the Heat locker room had nothing to celebrate about. The season that started with so much promise had finally ended, but it wasn't the way they had envisioned it.

The Heat became the most hated team in the NBA after LeBron James and Chris Bosh joined Dwyane Wade in Miami.

Was all the negative attention unfair? Of course it was. Did the media blow up every little thing the Heat players did? Of course they did.

Maybe one day, when the dust settles, we'll all be able to see how biased (or unbiased) the media really was.

Maybe one day we'll be able to give the Dallas Mavericks full credit for winning the series, instead of saying LeBron choked it away or the Heat lost because they were too overconfident.

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Nobody should feel sorry for James or Wade, and they don't want the sympathy to begin with. They're multi-millionaires in their 20s, and their job is to play basketball. That may actually be one of the reasons the media and everyone else loved seeing them fail.

In fact, everyone wanted them to fail so badly that they ignored common sense for a whole year.

James decided to join Bosh and Wade in Miami to win titles. He decided the game was not about him and his personal achievements. He wanted to be part of a winning team and put the team first and himself last.

James took a lot less money to go to Miami, and could have made more had he stayed in Cleveland.

Yes, that's right, a player decided not be greedy and to play for less money. Normally a move like this would be commended, especially when there is a "Millionaires vs. Billionaires" fight about money going on in the NFL and when the NBA could be facing another work stoppage as well.

For once, a superstar player wasn't about himself and wasn't about the money. He was about the team and winning. 

So why would the media go after a guy who made an unselfish decision? Some will say it was because of "The Decision" that James deserves all the hate and bad press.

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Many felt he should have let his former boss know what he was going to do, or that he shouldn't have gone so public with his decision. Many thought it was egotistical and unprofessional.

Meanwhile, the Boys and Girls Club, who received $2.5 million from "The Decision", thought it was a generous way to not only promote their organization, but also help them raise money.

Finally, you could tell the media had it backwards when the finals started. The Mavericks did most of the smack talk before games. They gave the media most of the bulletin board material. Guys like DeShawn Stevenson and Jason Terry had plenty to say between games.

Nobody cared to call that unprofessional or immature. The coverage of the finals was so comically one-sided that a cough got more coverage than actual words.

The Heat players tried their hardest to stay out of the back-and-forth between players. So instead, a cough made headlines, and a celebration after a big three-pointer made headlines.

Maybe that's just a testament of how big James, Wade and the Heat have become. A guy like Stevenson can say whatever he wants and it gets ignored. Part of that could be because nobody knows who Stevenson is, but a cough or a smile from superstars like Wade or James makes the front page.

This finals are over, and the Mavericks deserved to win. I can't think of any player in the NBA more deserving of a title than Nowitzki. Seeing Kidd lift the O'Brien Trophy after 17 years of chasing it was a heartwarming moment.

The reality is that this Mavericks team might have one more finals appearance in them. Meanwhile, the Heat will most likely be back a few more times in the coming years. Don't expect the Heat to go away anytime soon, and don't expect the hate and criticism to go away either. This is just getting started. 

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