Posts Tagged ‘miami heat’


By Will Robinson


The 2011 NBA Finals are kicking off tonight with the Dallas Mavericks tipping off in Miami against the Heat. Even though barely any players from the 2006 Finals remain, this will be considered a rematch of the controversial series. Here is a position by position breakdown for the starters, as well as looking at the bench as a whole, along with my final prediction of how the series will turn out.




By Brent Pella


It’s been years since basketball was as exciting as it has been the past two months; Derrick Rose received a much-deserved MVP award and the Kings are staying in Sacramento.


Then the Lakers were swept, and the Bulls seemed to be charging toward an NBA championship appearance as if it were a red cape. All that stood in their way was a series against the Heat.


But then Miami remembered who was on its team.


The Heat have been hated, booed, criticized, and underrated all season. Yet as I write this article, just hours after the Eastern Conference Championship has been played, our perspective on the Heat is subject to dramatic change.


>By Brent MacDonald

The smell of burning jerseys was still lingering in the air.
The ‘Boos’ drowned out the announcers.
A fan’s sign read: “What should you do? Beg for mercy.”
Serial killers have seemed nicer than the Cleveland fans in attendance.
What else could you hope for from an NBA game?

Clearly, there was only one major story of the evening: the return of a Heat player who left his Cavaliers team this past offseason to take his talents to South Beach.
Yes, Zydrunas Ilgauskas was poised to make his first return trip of the season to play against the team he abandoned in the summer.
I made a checklist of things to look for during this game, including the following:
-Would Quicken Loans Arena incorporate the TSA’s full-body scanners for riot prevention?
-Would Dana White be in the audience, mic-in-hand, just in case a ‘Witness’ fan and a ‘Quitness’ fan got into it?
-Would “Maddog,” the Cavs mascot, live up to his name by viciously attacking players from Miami?
-Would Cavs owner Dan Gilbert look for inspiration for his new book series entitled: “F*ck You: How I Took My Talents To Talking Trash”?
-Would the Heat employ Dr. Phil to keep emotions under control during timeouts?
-How plausible is it for vendors in the arena to sell concealed weapons within foam fingers?
-How will the announcer go about introducing Miami’s newest superstar Zydrunas, and his sidekick, LeBron James?
This last question brings us to a somewhat important side note, the return of LeBron James to his homeland.
Going into the game, there were only two ways for LeBron to act: Either with his head held high, as a professional should do on their way to work, or in resemblance to the way a dog would walk towards its master after sh*tting on their bed: head down, without making eye contact and tail between legs.
Thankfully, LBJ decided to act professional. No trash talk, no call-outs. Mo Williams went so far as to compare LeBron’s return to a “bitter ex-girlfriend showing up for a man’s wedding,” yet James went about his business the way he should have, beginning with the signature pre-game chalk toss.
imageCavs fans actually acted pretty civilized compared to the monumental amount of trash-talking and hatred they have expressed over the past few months. Nothing was thrown onto the court (while I was watching), no fights broke out (on camera), and there were no attempts at taking LeBron’s life (during the game). They hassled and heckled louder than ever, but that was to be expected. Each time LeBron touched the ball he was hounded with boos, which transformed into raucous applause after a missed shot attempt.
The ‘boo’s and banter stopped coming when the Heat pushed the lead to 80-50 halfway through the third quarter.
LeBron seemed to be at home, which technically he was, and played exceptionally well given the circumstances. If you had turned on the game without sound, you would have seen a great player playing a great game. Never did he respond to the screaming audience or mock the crowd. Instead, he finished strong at the rim and drained step-back shots in classic ‘Bron style, dropping a season-high 38 points, 24 in the third quarter alone (and sat out the entire fourth).
A quick postgame interview with the ever suit-savvy Craig Sager exposed LeBron’s newfound professionalism. Responding to questions about the negativity being expressed in what was once his home arena, LeBron said that he was in Cleveland not to fuel a fire or create problems, but to “win a road game.” Hopefully the professionalism he showed in will continue to be exhibited, as he can use all the help he can get in rebuilding a positive relationship with NBA fans.
imageIt was obvious even back during ESPN’s Soap Opera series entitled “The Decision” that LeBron’s image was undergoing a change. The fact that he needed a full hour-long special to drop a bomb on millions of people automatically separated his stardom from those who he had been compared to his entire career. No longer was he to be regarded as a player climbing up to the same level as legends such as Oscar Robertson or Michael Jordan, the latter of which would never have gone to a team with two (TWO!) superstars, but would rather work his ass off in order to beat them during the season.
In case you don’t remember, here’s a quick history lesson. When MJ made his first return to the league in the early 1990’s, there was no melodramatic, made-for-TV announcement. There was simply a fax, sent to every team in the league that included two words: “I’M BACK.”
The only two words LeBron has brought meaning to are “CHOSEN ONE,” the self-given nickname tattooed across his shoulder blades.
When it comes down to it, LeBron James may be the most hated name in sports. He may have overtaken Tiger as the most disrespectful athlete in the world. He may have ruined his legacy, lost his most die-hard fans, moved to the wrong city, never become a legend and fail in the eyes of all those who watch him. But on Thursday, he took a step in the right direction by playing, speaking and acting like a professional.        
So…What else should he do? For god’s sake, this is basketball. Drop the drama.
Play the damn game.



By Nick Gallaudet


Everyone has an opinion about LeBron James, and if you’re like me, you’re probably tired of them and just want to see what the guy can do on the court; but regardless of what you think of “The Decision” and the way he treated Cleveland fans, there is something that deserves discussion. If you haven’t seen it yet, here is LeBron’s new Nike commercial (below), and I have to be honest, I love it.

This commercial seems like a 90-second long apology to basketball fans. He asks, “what should I do?” repeatedly and I think he really wants to know. LeBron was cast as a villain the second he made the infamous statement that he was going to “take his talents to South Beach,” and I think he genuinely wants to rectify that. LeBron undoubtedly recognizes that the way things unfolded did not go according to plan, and he’s asking for a second chance…does he deserve one?


LeBron’s journey is completely different from any other basketball player ever. The hype he garnered in high school was like nothing the sports world had ever seen before, and up to this point, he has exceeded everyone’s expectations. No one gets the hype he got and delivers, and as a result, he’s held to a higher standard. The not-so-subtle jab he takes at Charles Barkley is warranted. Barkley may have chosen not to be a role model (if one can even make that choice), but LeBron wasn’t afforded that luxury. From the day he entered the NBA, he’s been sold as the Golden Boy, and was really never given a chance to fail. His success was so quick and large, he was the face of the NBA before anybody knew what happened, and as a result, when he hit his first speed bump, he was already the most famous player in the league.


More was expected of LeBron than just playing basketball. He wasn’t a cold blooded assassin like Kobe Bryant. He was a fun-loving superstar who played the game with a child-like enthusiasm. In the commercial, he asks, “should I just sell shoes?,” and I couldn’t help but think about Michael Jordan. Jordan pioneered the branded basketball star, but he did it with an edge. Jordan definitely made an effort to bring in some humor to his identity (Space Jam, anyone?), but he wasn’t accessible the way LeBron was. I don’t remember Jordan dressing up as multiple personas for Sprite commercials or acting out silly pregame rituals like LeBron. Jordan was all business, and for MJ, the business was rings and shoes.


The commercial plays as a montage of what people are telling him to do and what he wants to do, and with each one, you see how hard the situation has been for him. As strange as this sounds, LeBron was not given the opportunities legends before him were. LeBron never had an elite teammate the way Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, and Kobe Bryant had: He was on an island by himself in Cleveland. Every basketball player in the conversation for the best of all time have similar situations: elite teammates, hall of fame coaches, and rings, and up until this point, LeBron hasn’t had any. LeBron was a victim of circumstance: Everyone expected the world of him, but he couldn’t do it alone, and instead of having a team that could provide him with what he needed like Jordan and Johnson had, he had to go elsewhere to get it. In that journey to Miami, he hurt some feelings, made some unpopular decisions, but he also did what most people would do. He had the opportunity to play on a team that had the potential to be the greatest of all time, and those teammates happened to also be his friends.


This commercial addresses all the criticisms levied against LeBron and it also makes the viewer question how they would have handled the situation. There is no denying that “The Decision” was a little shady and a slap in the face to Cleveland fans, but I’ve always defended his motives. I don’t think you can blame a guy for trying to put himself in the best position to win championships in a sport where rings define a player more than any other major sport. I also think it’s unfair that LeBron is getting labeled a title-chaser while Dwyane Wade seems to attract little derision. Wade and Chris Bosh are afterthoughts in this discussion, and it’s unfair. Wade was also a free agent, and I genuinely feel that if the Cavaliers played in Miami, and Heat played in Cleveland, all three would be Cavaliers right now. The major difference between the three of them is the fact that LeBron made the mistake of ripping the hearts out of Cleveland fans on an hour long special.


LeBron deserves a second chance, although I understand how hard it will be to give him one. I don’t think his legacy is tarnished, but he can no longer be portrayed as the hometown hero leading his team to glory. He’s now a third of a formidable triumvirate and will be loved or hated, as most great teams are. I guess what I’m saying is this: don’t hate the guy for his actions off the court, hate him because he just wiped the floor with your team. I think a lot of this animosity is fueled by the media who completely blew this story out of proportion. LeBron should not be penalized for trying to win a championship, because in all honesty, if he had stayed in Cleveland and gone his entire career without winning a title, he would have been criticized for it and his legacy truly would have been tarnished. The bottom line is that LeBron had a tough choice to make, and the decision he made was a little selfish, but understandably so. He chose to play for a team that would give him the best chance at a title, in a great city, with his friends, and I think the commercial is LeBron’s way of showing that he hears everyone’s opinion, but he can’t please them all.


In the grand scheme of things, what LeBron did is nothing compared to cheating on your wife or gambling away millions of dollars, so I think the basketball world needs a little perspective. LeBron just needs to listen to Don Johnson, and “be patient. After a while the temperature drops and everything is free and easy.”