Enjoying Heat schadenfreude one last time

by Micah Hart

When LeBron James signed with Miami last summer, leaving Cleveland in the lurch like he did, as a fan I wanted him to feel what Cleveland fans felt. I wanted him to hurt the way they hurt.

As of last night’s title-clinching victory by the Dallas Mavericks, I think it’s safe to say that what the fans wanted has come to pass. Today, LeBron is hurting, and for the haters it is as satisfying as the first gulp of a Coke on a hot summer’s day.

Here is what I wrote right before the start of the season, and it still holds water:

If I am a Cleveland or Toronto fan (but more Cleveland), I don’t want to see Miami struggle through injuries and flame out in the first round because they are at less than full strength. I wouldn’t complain, but it’d still be a disappointment.

If you really want to be spiteful and vindictive (and really, isn’t that what hatred is all about?), you don’t want Miami’s success to be curtailed by a collection of rolled ankles and twisted knees. You want the Heat to be awesome. Devastate the league. Win 70 games. Cruise to the Finals. THEN lose. That is revenge, my friend.

Given the hubris and arrogance exhibited last summer, it’s hard to muster much sympathy for Miami. And while others had a stake in the production, the tab will be paid going forward by LeBron and LeBron alone.

Dwyane Wade is safe — he played his heart out, especially in the Finals, and would have been MVP had the Heat won. Plus he’s already got a ring. Chris Bosh is safe too. He got a lot of grief this season as well, perhaps even more than LeBron. But he answered his critics in these playoffs. Maybe he had a misstep here or there (his defense on Dirk’s game-winner in Game 4 for example), but he was unafraid to take and make big shots, and he proved the Heat are indeed a Big Three and not a Charlie Sheen*.

*Because they are two-and-a-half men.

Yes, this is all on LBJ, and I for one feel sated. The Mavericks were the better team and deserved to win, but if the Heat can come this close to a title while giving crunch-time minutes to the likes of Juwan Howard and Mike Bibby, they really aren’t very far off. They will get better.

We can revel in James’ struggles in the clutch, but they won’t much matter in the future if the Heat are winning each game by double-digits. And that’s OK. The epic failure of this postseason feels like punishment enough.

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  1. Hives says:

    I think its absolutely pathetic people are rooting for this guy to not succeed. Did anybody really expect him to stay in Cleveland? Many superstars have left cities in the past and this is the first time it is this out of hand. Is that a testament to the greatness that surrounds Lebron? Seriously, this guy has done absolutely nothing to warrant so much hate. It’s disgusting that people can all jump in on this together and not step back and think about it as an individual. He is arguably the greatest talent the NBA has ever seen and yet we are not enjoying his game but reveling in the drama that surrounds one city and a ‘decision’. As a fan of the NBA in general I am extremely disappointed in that. To everybody who says this was some kind of shortcut, what does that even mean? He was a free agent he did what he felt he had to do, as many other stars have done in the past. Not everybody is gifted a bunch of talent to surround them on a team like Jordan or Kobe and it was never going to happen in Cleveland. I just hope that since he lost some of this hate can vanish and we can get back to watching the actual game. You all should feel ashamed to call yourself NBA fans.

    • Mark says:

      despite your judgmental self-righteousness for those who choose to dislike lebron it’s not pathetic to dislike arrogance and appreciate humility – see how dirk, durant and lebron handled their free agency – seems to me lebron was the one who is “absolutely pathetic” – not the fans who reject obnixious arrogance

    • Timothy Bladel says:

      you do not get it, it is how he left, and the smoke filled claim that he is going to get 7 rings. Its the distaistful action of making fun of Dirk, and the I am me, and you have to wake up as you tomorrow, but I will still be the King attitude he shows in defeat, this is why he is the most hated athlete ever, and will never be more than a good player on a very good team. What would this season of been without Wade. Wades team had 40 plus wins last year, James did not bring much more, and no ring. The Mavs would not have won with James, they did with Dirk.. James calls himself the King, better he has no crown. So how that Dirk taist Labron. He had 8 points in game 4 dude, thats garbage. Ha, you are so mad, and it is ok, if I was you I would be too. You are out of you mind if you think James belongs any where near the list of the Greats. No way is he the greatest ever, come on dude you just sound dumb saying that. After watching these finales you still say something so dumb, where do you get this from.

    • lakers fan says:

      Dude, can you think of Jordan, Bird, Magic, Duncan, Pierce, Bryant, Webber, Rose, Nash, Iverson….no, wait…to cut the COMPLETE-list-of-players-that-ever-played-any-sport short: can you think of ANY player EVER to go:

      I rest my case. He was pretty much disgrace for the basketball, and sport in general.

    • Ron says:

      well…..I am soooo glad Miami lost and not in the least feel ashamed. NBA fans won, not just the Mavs

    • Jesse says:

      durant and dirk weren’t expected to leave their teams and the media was much more focused on lebron before “the decision”. if durant and dirk were as good as lebron the press would have focused on them more. but they arent, so lebron was focused on more. lebron tried for 7 years to bring a title to cleveland, but why waste the talent he with a team that relies fully on him. leaving was the smart thing for him to do, and people need to give him a break.

    • True LBJ fan says:

      Lebron you are not alone..your true fans are with you whether you win or not.. we are the true fans who care about you through the ups and downs of your career.. dont mind those haters.. Lebron, just focus on the bright side and learn from the mistakes.. we understand how hard it is to be criticized for lossing.. it is not a sin to lose but we have to accept the fact that winning feels better.. I cheered for you when you first stepped on the hard court and i will cheer for you until the moment you reture your sneakers.. even if you end up your entire career without a ring you will always be my idol and I’m proud that i lived in your generation..Im proud of you lebron..You had a great career but i believe you can do better than that.. Godbless you my brother

  2. thisguy says:

    This is revenge alright!
    Funny at the Charlie Sheen part. LOL!

  3. Meem Ice El Fan Eye says:

    The problem is not that LBJams made a decision to play elsewhere…the problem was “The Decision”, and the hype that followed. I do not really feel like I’m a ‘hater’—I’m more of a “DisLiker”. I disliked the way James adopted and touted the ‘King James’ persona, and I have a problem with someone who would have “Chosen One” tattooed on his body! As an athlete, James is tops among the top. If LBJ had of simply signed with Miami without all the over-hyped publicity, I think he would have still been respected by most NBA fans. As it happened, LeBron alienated his fan base with his self-entitlement attitude and his arrogant demeanor. He is not ‘hated’ because he can outplay most other players, but because of his ‘holier-than-thou’ personality. Just remember…

    “Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.”

    This is from Proverbs, found in the version of the REAL King James!

  4. BLM73 says:

    Hives Mom the Moderator on this one? He puts forth a complete crap argument and it won’t let me reply lol.

  5. 3 guard 88 says:

    I agree. If the heat would have won, Dwayne Wade takes the MVP. Maybe he is more mature than Lebron or simply the style of the playoffs suit him better. Lebron clearly dominates in the fast paced regular season marathon. But when it comes to the slugfest of a playoff series he falters. Any champion ready opposing defense is going to force you to play out of your comfort zone. They force you to take shots that you miss more often and they have multiple games to get it right. Lebron needs to work out a way to play that type of playoff basketball. Then he can take control as Wade did in his previous championship. Get to work Heat and share some love with Bosh. The Celtics couldn’t have won without Garnet and the Heat will have success when they get Bosh intentional quality looks.

    • Jesse says:

      did we already forget how lebron shut the celtics and the bulls down in the fourth quarter? wade and lebron cant both have 30 points a game. they either need to split the touches or let the one who’s feeling it have all the touches. lebron had them all in the second and third rounds, and wade had them in the finals. thats all it is.

  6. BLM73 says:

    In all honesty, the fact that LBJ’s actions do NOT appall you says to me that you are in fact NOT a fan of the game so much as a fairweather fan who has seized on an opportunity to jump on some ridiculous soapbox without thinking your position out clearly in advance.

    The ‘Franchise Player’ tag has a RICH history in most all professional sports. It is a Trademark of a respectful individual, one who is thankful for the opportunity provided them by the team that drafts them, and provides a living for them far in excess of the average person to stick it out and suffer through with ‘their’ team, and to think LBJ was given this opportunity in his HOME STATE no less.

    See how James garnered the hatred he currently has from a lot of fans? The ‘Decision’ was not only ridiculously arrogant, and ill-conceived, but it also showed to the world that LBJ himself has no respect for the game, or the history of the game, that they (the fans) love.

    *Note : Chris Bosh left Toronto didn’t he? After the same number of years as James had in Cleveland, yet he doesn’t suffer these same repercussions. Get it?*

    • Rich says:

      Bosh who ? Oh do you know that Mike Forst have also moved to the Timberwolves after 7 years playing for the Nets ? Get it ?

      • BLM73 says:

        I get it if what you’re trying to say is you’re an idiot. Chris Bosh stepped his game up in the playoffs, so acting like he’s a nobody of a player is…..well like I said I get it, you’re an idiot.

  7. lakers fan says:

    Dude, can you think of Jordan, Bird, Magic, Duncan, Pierce, Bryant, Webber, Rose, Nash, Iverson….no, wait…to cut the COMPLETE-list-of-players-that-ever-played-any-sport short: can you think of ANY player EVER to go:

    I rest my case. He was pretty much disgrace for the basketball, and sport in general.

  8. Mike says:

    It’s the same reason I despise Cristiano Ronaldo and Real Madrid, because they have so much arrogance in their own vanity, who brim in their own self-importance in how good they think they are. And what I like to see is individuals like this fail, and players who display humility and respect, such as Messi. He can change, and the longer he fails to win a championship, the more humble he will become. Do you think Dirk 2011 is the same as Dirk 2001? You must suffer in order appreciate

  9. lakers fan says:

    one more thing about the Heat organisation. Having cheerleaders wearing jerseys 1, 3 and 6 is saying to all other players on their team in the face: you are such a cheap labour, we have absolutely no respect for you.
    Bosh, Wade and LeChoke accepting that – is even worse.

  10. lakers fan says:

    yup, I actually have one more. Heat, please leave Spo as a head coach. I wouldn’t want to see you win neither next year(s).

    • Jonesy says:

      hahahahaahahahahahahaa listen to this sad lakers fan who is yet to come to terms that her precious bunch of over-rated, favoured hacks are not going to feature in the nba games that matter anymore.

  11. NJW518 says:

    Pride before the fall. The Heat expected to win (they’d been saying so since July), and therefore it was obvious they didn’t prepare and plan as thouroughly for the Mavs as they should have. They probably expected to simply out-athlete the aging Mavs and take it in 5, never realizing that most finals are like two punch-drunk boxers going at it until one falls. Failure to prepare is the same as preparing to fail

  12. aaa says:

    some people are just idiots he just did his job and left that stinking village i mean wouldn’t you go to miam instead of Cleveland and now everybody is against him cmon people get a life

    • MattyLee says:

      Stinking village? It’s his HOME TOWN, man. I for one would be honored to represent my home town and chase a title, especially if it was a place like Cleveland (or in my case, Philly) that doesn’t get any respect. He’s being payed to play a game. He should be honored to do it anywhere, and even moreso if he can do it for a place that means something to him.

      Of course he should want a championship. Everyone in the NBA does. But if he were a truly great player, he wouldn’t have to go somewhere else to get it. The team would come to him. Cleveland put everything it had into building him a supporting cast, and would have continued to do so. The fact that he thought he’d need a pair of MVP side kicks shows that he’s not the caliber of player he pretends to be. He lacked the patience to build towards a championship, and tried to take the shortcut. And he got exactly what he deserved.

  13. JDee says:

    Wise words Hives, totally agree ! People tend to forget that LBJ is the player who he is today because he is the product of the media. No other player in NBA history had received all the praise and hype before even playing 1 minute in a NBA uniform…Back in high-school, they already made him THE “Chosen One” (Sports Illustrated cover back at the time) and the future of the league – then the Akron boy is drafted by his home state city of Cleveland, a city, no one had ever heard of before outside the US (only of course Jordan fans as we all know what he did to the Cavs in late 80s early 90s).
    Bron put Cleveland on the world map and NBA map, and help boost the local economy with his talent and skills on the court – he leads the team to the finals in 07……can anyone name a pure talent on any of the Cavs team Bron played for ??? he was in Cleveland 7 years and they simply failed to surround him with enough good players (Ben Wallace and Antawn Jamison were arguagly the best players to play alongside James but they both joined him late into their respective careers).
    Then you start hating on the guy who gave you an identity for 7 years simply because he decides to join another team because he wants to win ??????? who are we as fans to “decide” what a player should do ? aren’t we selfish when hoping and asking for a player to stick to “our team” because we still want to enjoy seeing him play for us, and end of the day, if we don’t win, then at least we had fun watching and cheering !!!!
    YES, his “decision” was way too ill-advised and very stupid….you don’t need a TV show to announce you’re joining another team, especially when you didn’t even have the decency to talk to your president/coach and teammates first…..Yes, that was stupid…..and YES, throwing a party to introduce the Big 3 in Miami wasn’t the best thing….but this time, it wasn’t Lebron’s fault, maybe more the Heat organisation and Pat Riley – but then again, this was made for Heat fans, why other “fans” are complaining ??? it’s not like it was thrown in you own teams building ??? and who cares what was said on that day ??? it was a party, and those guys were “drunk” and giddy…..7 championships, did anyone seriously believe that ???? Teams can barely go back to back these days, did anyone really think that was for real ?

    Yes Bron can be cocky at times and immature…..so was Kobe a few years ago, and Kobe even did way bad things off the court even – did anyone “hate” him for that ? Is Lebron arrogance a bigger crime than that ? thats just an example here, i’m not here to diss Kobe, who’s a great player and a champion.

    Dalls deserved to win, they are the heck of a experienced and mature team, congrats to them and Dirk and JKidd got their ring !
    Lebron wasn’t himself in the Finals – no one can really say why, although I think he couldn’t handle the pressure….but there was also pressure against the Bulls and the C’s and he was the MVP of these series….The Heat are 1 or 2 pieces away from a 1st championship and mostly what they needed was experience and maturity – they will have this next year.

    But bottom line is the man has to be left alone – those Cavs fans who have been silent all year suddenly re-surfaced….and suddenly, they are Dallas’ number 1 fans, from the average fan to Dan Gilbert and the governor of Ohio….who made the Mavs “honorary Ohioans” as if they really cared !!! Seriously ???? Even the Governor ??!! So sad and pathetic, but then again, what do you expect of an owner who still believes he will win a championship before Lebron – Well Lebron, may just get 1 some day, even as a sub, but your Cavs are certainly not seeing the playoffs before 10 years !!

    • Katriel says:

      very well said…i understand where the hate is coming from…but issuing a resolution to commend the mavs and all is way too much! bitterness to the highest level! its really pathetic already….

  14. alvin says:

    spoelstra and bosh should be replace

  15. bodega says:

    amen jdee

  16. zxymhn says:

    If you ask LeBron for a dollar, he only gives you $0.75, he never gives you the 4th quarter

  17. zxymhn says:

    i was trying to call on LeBron James, and guess what!? even his phone doesn’t have a ring! lols

  18. aaa says:

    jDee You said everything what i wanted to say and every bit is so right and true

  19. Dolly says:

    JDee…You took the words out of my mouth!!!

  20. gustavo says:

    If getting to the finals after beating the Celtics and the Bulls in the way we did is an “Epic Failure” then I don’t know what could be considered a good season short of winning it all. The Cavs this season was a epic failure, the Lakers this season was an epic failure, the SPurs getting knocked off by the griz “epic failure” get over your crush on LeBron and the Heat and move on folks.

  21. Jonesy says:

    all this hate and anamosity is just overshadowing the mavs win which is pretty sad but as a heat fan i find HILERIOUS and it makes me smile to know that the miami heat have further inpiration to REDEEM themselves next and it will make the win even SWEETER if it comes. as far as all the lebron james hate, well thats equally as hilerious because every sad individual that has hate for him is just paying him the ultimate respect and basically you subconsiously believe him the great player that his fans adore. haha doesnt take a psychologist to work it out, or maybe it does i dunno either way you haters are not doing much to quell him and the heat as the most elite. kudos.

  22. JAnice says:

    Get over it people. I was not a Lebron fan until he left Cleveland and now I am glad that he did. Why waste your whole career in a place that will never win a championship. Now that he sees how they are, other players should be aware. I would rather move down the list then be drafted by the Cleveland CAviliers. YuK!!!