“Back to back is a bad ass fact”
The Red Hot Chili Peppers sang those words in their song Magic Johnson. I never could appreciate how profound those lyrics were until now. During the Miami Heat’s two month run to their second straight NBA championship my hair has turned gray, bags have been permanently etched under my eyes and I need a shot of prune juice to use the bathroom.
When Pat Riley persuaded LeBron James and Chris Bosh to join Dwyane Wade on the Miami Heat almost three years ago I expected it all to be easy. Watching Miami Heat games would be laid back affairs decided by the end of the third quarters. The drama would be in the artistry of the team’s athleticism, not in the outcome of the contests.
When the Heat struggled I reverted into a colicky baby. Fire the coach, he doesn’t know how to utilize the talent. Trade the players, they’re wasting away their potential. Hang the refs, they are corrupt and costing us a precious victory. With their roster this Miami Heat team should be historically great, little did I realize I was watching historical greatness.
Over the last three years the Miami Heat became one of only five franchises in NBA history to reach the Finals in three consecutive years. They became the sixth franchise to win back to back titles. LeBron James won back to back MVP awards, and of course there was this year’s 27 game consecutive win streak which was the second longest in the history of major American professional sports.
The younger version of me who spent years watching Alan Ogg awkwardly run down the court and Willie Burton clanking free throws would be disgusted by the spoiled fan I became. Here I was having already watched my team win two championships in the last six years acting like his life depended on a third Miami Heat coronation. Once I was happy to get a lowly victory over the Washington Bullets or the New Jersey Nets, now a trip all the way to the Finals that ended in a loss would be a fate worse than death.
As the great philosopher Don Draper once said, “What is happiness? It’s a moment before you need more happiness“
It is of course the high expectations of this team that bring the discontent. The Miami Heat are not merely playing against the 29 other teams in the NBA, they are playing against every other team in the annals of history. It is a battle they can not win, but still Heat fans can not be completely happy until they do. It is a special kind of arrogance, one that upsets the national media and fans of lessor teams. They mock the Heat fans for showing up to games late, leaving early, and flipping the birdie to dreadlocked Chicago Bulls. They do not appreciate the stressful endeavor we suffer cheering on a team toward the upper echolon of groups of people that center their lives around bouncing a ball and hurling it into a ten foot hole.
So today we puff cigars and bang on pots and pans, Monday we watch a parade with the wisdom that next year we will be relaxed and have complete faith in this team that fulfills all our dreams.
Until we find ourselves down by eight in the first quarter of our first game in November.