The last two days since Game 3 of the NBA Finals have seen a large amount of bizarre criticism. The team that won has faced more scrutiny than the team that lost. The player that made the winning play has been subjected to more critiquing than the player who missed the game winning shot. The continued invective behavior of media personnel and fans towards the Miami Heat is ridiculous to say the least. But it certainly is not surprising.
After the way everything went down last summer following the Heat winning the free agent lottery, many fans and media members instantly turned against LeBron James and the entire franchise. The team didn’t help themselves by throwing a WWE style party where James declared they were going for not just one ring, not two, not three, but looking to establish themselves as the best team of all time. This premature celebration only turned people off more, and had them looking for reasons to criticize, and in extreme cases, hate the Heat.
This continued throughout the regular season, as every situation that looked negatively upon Miami was blown out of proportion. Every missed shot spelled doom, as everybody pleaded for situations that featured the Heat, and especially James, failing to succeed. This was exacerbated once the post-season started, as this was the time that the Heat were supposed to be ready for. As the playoffs started it was obvious the Heat were more than ready, and since the beginning of the post-season back in April the Heat have been the best team in the NBA.
However, despite their excellent performance on the court the Heat still found themselves subjected to many questions. They faced ridicule rather than praise. Even after a series shifting win in Game 3 in Dallas, LeBron James found himself answering questions about his inability to succeed in the first quarter. James’ answer to the question was humorous, but the frustration on his face was evident. Never before have we seen a team face so many questions following a win. Never before has a superstar player been accused of shrinking from a moment after making a great pass that results in a game winning, and potentially a championship clinching shot.
While all this criticism is remarkably unfair and incredibly idiotic, it’s not surprising. The way that Bosh, Wade, and James colluded to join forces in Miami changed the face of the NBA, and rubbed many people the wrong way. The following heel-turn and apparent acceptance of the villainous role only irritated people more. This has resulted in these inane questions and unfair criticisms. But ultimately James and the rest of the Heat have to understand that this is what they signed up for. Even though they didn’t technically do anything wrong, they took something away from the rest of the NBA by teaming up in South Beach – hope.
James and the Heat are two wins away from their first NBA championship, and odds are they will get it before this series is over. Yet even after they win this title the questions will remain. Fans will claim that the first title means nothing since the team previously promised seven of them. It is unfortunate that a team this talented is forced to face this much unfair scrutiny, but ultimately this is the role they embraced. This is what they knew they were getting into last summer. So while the foolish questions and mindless criticism will continue to poor in, the Heat will more than likely continue to win. Thus is life in today’s often bizarre version of the National Basketball Association.