Los Angeles Lakers Can Relate To the Rash of Miami Heat Hate in the NBA

Hadarii JonesSenior Writer IAugust 2, 2010

LOS ANGELES, CA - DECEMBER 25:   LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers looks on during the game against the Los Angeles Lakers at Staples Center on December 25, 2009 in Los Angeles, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty Images)
Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty Images

The Miami Heat can barely celebrate their new-found status as NBA championship contenders, because they are to busy fending off numerous attacks from fans and the media.

The moves that brought LeBron James and Chris Bosh to Florida instantly catapulted the Heat into the upper-echelon of the Eastern Conference, but it has also made Miami the most despised team in the NBA.

All I can say is, "welcome to the big leagues."

As a follower of the Los Angeles Lakers it's easy to relate to the negativity Miami is receiving, but Heat fans could probably do a better job of containing their fury.

The Lakers have been dealing with the type of scrutiny Miami is confronted with for decades, but any true Lakers fan understands that contempt comes with the territory, especially when you are successful.

Los Angeles was the odds-on favorite to win last season's championship, but there were few people outside of the purple and gold realm who felt they would actually win it.

Every regular season game became an illustration as to why the Lakers were unworthy to hoist their second consecutive title, and although most of the criticism was pure Lakers' hate, there were some valid points found in the arguments.

Right now Heat fans seem to be backed in a corner, and they have come out swinging, but in their fury some very legitimate concerns about the team's makeup that are being dismissed as hate.

One of the greatest concerns for the Lakers last season was their defensive vulnerability at the point guard position, and many observers felt this was the Lakers' fundamental flaw.

Admittedly this was a serious concern, but Lakers' fans were well aware of this, and even though it was a thorn in the side of many, it was also an issue fans accepted as truth.

Most observers feel that the lack of a dominant inside presence will be the Miami super team's kryptonite, and although Heat fans tend to dismiss this issue, it does have merits.

The Boston Celtics and Orlando Magic are viewed as the Heat's primary competitors for the Eastern crown, and coincidentally, their main strengths just happen to be Miami's weaknesses.

The Celtics and Magic have two of the conference's premier point guards in Rajon Rondo and Jameer Nelson respectively, and they also rank as the strongest teams on the interior.

Mario Chalmers is a decent young player but he's not in the same class as Rondo and Nelson, and even though the Heat have a plethora of bodies to use in the paint, the talent doesn't match the numbers.

Heat fans seem to think the combination of James, Bosh, and Dwyane Wade will offset their shortcomings at those positions, but playoff games are won through match ups and chemistry.

James, Bosh, and Wade will win many more games than they lose for the Heat, but just because they are on the roster doesn't mean certain issues will disappear due to their mere presence.

I would say those are legitimate concerns, but instead of acknowledging them, Heat fans would rather chalk up the observation as another instance of people hating on their team.

But, dismissing this problem as hate will not make it go away, and as talented as Bosh, Wade, and James are, neither of them can fill the void Miami has at center.

To be fair, the Lakers have never been subjected to this amount of venom, and there are many people who show disdain for Miami simply because of their ability to stage an unprecedented coup.

Fans in Chicago, New York, and especially Cleveland are feeling pretty sour about being relegated to secondary status in the most celebrated free agency period in NBA history.

So their natural instinct is to hate and hate some more, but Heat fans have been less than gracious in receiving criticism, and a war of words has ensued.

The Lakers are not immune to the hate, as there will always be legions of people that despise Los Angeles, but they too have been relegated to secondary status in the wake of Miami's super team.

Lakers' fans have been more than happy to engage Heat fans in a verbal war of supremacy even though the season is still months away from beginning.

Most of the ribbing has been good-natured, but some has been less than tasteful and I applaud Heat writers such as James Wong who have been able to balance their natural bias with honest journalism.

Mr. Wong understands something that Lakers' fans found out long ago, and the lesson remains relevant to this day.

If a team is perceived as a contender, there will be no shortage of pundits standing ready to offer every theory as to why that status is undeserved.

But regardless of whatever opinion any person holds, the ultimate test will begin once the season starts, and the truth is always revealed under the lights of the game.

So stand strong Miami.

The Lakers are very aware that you have a team that is capable of competing for championships, even though there are still issues that must be addressed.

Los Angeles proved by winning last season's championship that the only thing that really matters is how a team ends the season.

And despite the Lakers' flaws they ended the year in the best way imaginable.

Once the NBA season starts the Miami Heat will get their chance to prove it too.


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