UPDATE: Coming soon: The captain rises to the defense of the Heat.
No one will ever mistake the 2012 Miami Heat with the 1969 Mets, or the 1972 Dolphins, or the 1980 US Olympic Hockey Team. No, the Heat have all the emotional impact of a black stretch limo pulling up to a G4 at a private airport.
When Michael Jordan spent all those years falling just short in the playoffs, he didn’t demand a trade to play with Magic Johnson. When the Larry Bird led Celtics beat the Lakers, Magic didn’t play out his contract and sign with Boston.
When Ali walked into the ring in Kinshasa, Zaire against George Foreman- the George Forman who had arms the size of most men’s legs and the George Forman who in 1973 knocked Joe Frazier to the canvas five times in less than two rounds; the George Foreman who faced Ali with a record of 38-0, 35 by knockout- Ali didn’t demand that Ken Norton help him in the ring.
In the 1980 Olympics it was a bunch of college kids, mostly from Minnesota or Boston University, that faced the Russians- the greatest hockey players of their generation, and won.
Name the starting lineup of the 72 Dolphins. Their quarterback Bob Griese will never be remembered as the premier quarterback of his era. The 72 Dolphins achieved perfection because their coached molded an entire team. When Griese went down in the fifth game of the season, 38 year old journeyman Earl Morrall, claimed before the season by Coach Shula off of waivers for $100.00, stepped in and guided the team to wins through the rest of the season and the first playoff game.
Americans love an underdog. Namath beating the mighty Colts in 69. The miracle Mets of the same year. Sea Biscuit was an undersized, knobby kneed horse who was raced 35 times as a two year old before being claimed for $2,500.00. The horse went on to win the match of the century against Man of War and then recovering from a seemingly career ending injury, went on to win the Santa Anita Derby after having lost it twice before.
No one will ever look at the 2012 Miami Heat and think of Ali on the ropes doing the unthinkable and unbelievable. No one will remember the Heat the way they think of the 69 Mets or the 1980 US Hockey team. There are no Earl Morralls on this team of high priced superstars. There are no athletes on this team with the heart of Sea Biscuit. No member of the Miami Heat ever looked deep inside of himself and found a way to will his team to victory like Michael Jordan did or Magic Johnson did when he took over center for the Lakers in game six of the championship series. With hall of famer Kareem Abdul-Jabbar on the bench, Magic scored 42 points as the center and beat the Dr. J led 76’ers for the title.
Sure Lebron James is a good player. He has great talent. But he doesn’t have heart. When he couldn’t win in Cleveland he left. Magic never left LA; Larry Bird never left Boston. Mike Eruzione and Jim Craig never let their hockey team give up and Tom Seaver and Cleon Jones and Tommy Agee always believed that their Mets- the joke of the league during the 1960’s- could win it all.
The Heat victory is a victory for corporate America. With limos and luxury suites and seats that costs more than most people make in a month, they are the best team money can buy. The Heat and their fans will never know what it is like to take the field of play being an underdog – being given no chance- being written off by everyone but themselves. Ali reached deep down inside of himself and found the courage and heart of a champion; Lebron James skipped town when he couldn't win with the Cavaliers.
The Heat are the champions; we give them their due. Go celebrate their victory if you want to. You can have them and all that they stand for.