Monday, August 2, 2010

Heat Hate Versus Heat Support

August 2, 2010

Ever since LeBron James' "decision" on national television, a firestorm of negativity has surrounded the Miami Heat - much more than has ever been present in the team's brief history. Much of this criticism has been directed to James himself, but some has been aimed at Chris Bosh and the trio as a whole. Most notably the public denouncement of James by Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert spearheaded this crusade against James and the Heat. The comments by Bryan Colangelo, Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson and Larry Bird have only furthered this collective disapproval of the Heat and its players.

However there is some light amidst this barrel of darkness. Recent statements by New Jersey Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov and Phoenix Suns forward Hedo Turkoglu have been supportive of James, Bosh and the Heat. Prokhorov's letter to the editor in USA Today sided with LeBron's decision to join Miami and build a "new, dynamic team," while pointing out that "any club owner dreams of having those players." On the other hand, Turkoglu defended Bosh during an on-air interview with an Arizona radio station. In that conversation, Turkoglu challenged Colangelo's statements on Bosh and cited that "there is something wrong with that organization," which is why "nobody wants to go there anymore."

Here's a snippet of what each of them had to say:

Mikhail Prokhorov:
The players are signed, the "Decision" is made, but the passions around this year's extraordinary class of NBA free agents refuses to die down. What surprises me is the amount of negative commentary directed at the three top free agents (especially LeBron James) who decided to play on the same team and to create a great franchise together. Of course, any club owner dreams of having those players, including me, but all questions of how the announcements were made aside, I respect their choice, and no one has the right to judge them.

I want to say that I support LeBron, the best athlete in the NBA. He had a truly difficult choice to make. Any move he made was sure to be viewed as wrong, and to leave many unhappy fans. Basing his decision on achieving results on the basketball court shows that the sportsman won the day, not the showman or the businessman. What is wrong with that?

Hedo Turkoglu:
"It's funny that people will talk behind your back. If he was feeling this way, why not have the guts to say it during the season? Why not say it to Chris? Now that Chris has left, it's not nice to say those things. Chris has been a franchise player and he did a lot of good things for the Raptors. I don't think Chris is the type of player to quit on his teammates."

It seems that some perspective has finally been placed on the one-sided statements pertaining against the Heat. Whether it's owners who are disappointed with their franchise players leaving, or former NBA stars blasting the creation of "Miami Thrice," the biases clearly lead to flawed arguments.

Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert
For starters, Gilbert acted in a purely reactionary fashion, resorting to name-calling and other unprofessional diction, in his open-letter to the public on James. Fans in Cleveland may glorify such actions as he represents their home team, but outside of their city the rest of the world can find flaw and immaturity in his statements. As for Colangelo, he was quick to challenge Bosh's effort towards the latter end of the season after Bosh was gone, but had no fortitude to raise the question during the course of the season. It's easy to talk behind others' backs, as Turkoglu pointed out, but karma typically responds with a full frontal rebuttal challenging your reputation.

Furthermore, the statements coming from three of the NBA's most decorated have been refuted by Jordan, Magic and Bird's infusion of self-pride in their words. While reporters may have instigated their opinions on "What Would JMB Do?" (JMB referring to Jordan/Magic/Bird), their opinions should not have served as an example of how things ought to be in the NBA. The high road would have been to state that their era cannot be compared to the modern era. Instead, they hypothetically placed themselves in the shoes of James, Bosh and Dwyane Wade as if their positions were the models to be followed.

Keep this in mind: Pride may have a role in these three individuals' perspectives, but so does economic interest. The prospect of Heat dominance in The Association for years to come threatens many NBA teams. And while the aforementioned greats may be commonly labeled as legendary players, they are still NBA executives.

Charlotte Bobcats owner Michael Jordan, Indiana Pacers president Larry Bird, and Los Angeles Lakers vice president and part owner Magic Johnson all have a vested interest in their team's success as opposed to that of the Miami Heat. Don't be surprised if money is the motive behind part of their sentiments.

1 comment:

Deniz said...

People are just gonna stay hating on these guys, especially now, when they dont even have the opportunity to prove anything.

Its all so empty and pointless, be a man and deal with the fact you didnt get the players what they wanted and did what they felt was best for them and not the owners. - dont hate cuz your city sucks

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