Different Class

They can make us care about the NBA in March, but why don't we seem to care about them?
Share |

The Bulls are out to a big early lead over the Heat and the United Center is going crazy. They're pounding them. It's physical. Nate Robinson comes in and is his best and craziest self: making shots and yelling; being tiny and insane and magnetic and, however briefly, great. LeBron is getting to the rim and scoring at will, but he's absorbing hard contact. He's getting hugged and taken down by Kirk Hinrich, he's grimacing and wondering where the foul calls are. No one is able to get open and spot up for three. There are no three-on-one breaks in transition. No oops have been thrown and no chests have been pounded.

The first half ends on what the Heat think should have been a foul as Chris Bosh is forcefully denied an easy lay-in under the basket. More grimacing, more pleading. Ray Allen has to gently guide LeBron away from the refs and toward the tunnel. A glistening, manic, near-hyperventilating Nate Robinson is interviewed by Chris Broussard. The Bulls lead by nine, but it feels like 20.

It is only nine, though, and then a few minutes into the second half it's only five. The Heat wriggle loose two fast breaks off turnovers, both of which culminated in emphatic LeBron slams. Afterward the camera cuts to his severe and focused expression as he chews on the end of his mouthguard. The Bulls call a timeout and it seems clear that it's happening again, that in all likelihood the Heat will go on to win their 28th consecutive game. A few minutes later Shane Battier and Mario Chalmers hit open threes and the Heat take their first lead.

The rest of the game almost seems like a formality. Once the Heat start to get easy threes, once they are able to open things up in transition, once they are able to exercise their will on their opponent, it's over—double-digit deficits turn into insurmountable six-, seven, or eight-point advantages which, in turn, turn into wins. It happens, and it keeps happening, and it always make sense.

This is not, it should be noted, a bad thing. The 2013 Heat, when firing on all cylinders and in general, are beautiful to watch. The fluidity and grace of their two- or three-on-one breaks, punctuated emphatically by a single swift act of violence on the rim; the constant motion of their offense in the half court—the cuts, the screens, the decoys, the ball being passed more times than it's dribbled; the deft, subtle carving of alleyways into the paint, the three-point shooters lurking behind the arc. All of that, and the near-total absence of poor shots.

The otherworldly presence and influence and kinesthetic force of LeBron James, a player unlike any the game has ever seen playing better than he ever has. For the past 27 games these stretches of sublime excellence have occurred invariably in every game the Heat have played. Sometimes for the majority of the 48 minutes, sometimes for whatever small amount of time it takes to win, but always for long enough. It's been two months, give or take, since it wasn't enough.

But on Wednesday night it didn't really end up happening—not for long enough, not when they needed it—and the Bulls ended the Heat's streak with a fourth quarter barrage of threes and increasingly physical play down the stretch. But even as they extended their lead back to double digits with only a few minutes to play, it was hard to believe that the Heat were about to lose. Which, context and Chicago's depleted lineup aside, is just a crazy thing to think about a regular season game in which the opponent is one of the conference's best teams playing at home.

When was the last time a regular season game meant so much, to the point where it set hearts pounding even as its conclusion became evident? When was the last time a regular season game was so competitive, so physical, when so much was at stake? You may have an answer to this question. But it doesn't get asked, rhetorically or otherwise, unless the Miami Heat—this team, great and getting greater, and brilliant enough to open new worlds of inquiry and emotion even during the bullshit weeks of March—play the way they have been. There's no reason to love these Heat. But we must give them that.


In the grand scheme of the NBA, and maybe in the slightly less grand but still grandiose scheme of the Heat's own narrative, the 27-game winning streak doesn't really matter all that much. This is not to say that it wasn't impressive, or wasn't fun. The game against the Bulls had the intensity of a playoff elimination game; the streak elevated the games that came before to a level of significance that frankly has no place in March. Could anything else have possibly caused ESPN to pick up a late March Orlando Magic home game? Now THAT'S impressive.

And yet, according to a (heroically unscientific) ESPN Sportsnation poll posted shortly after the Bulls won, 72 percent of respondents said that they won't miss the streak. In another, 64 percent said they're happy that it's over. What is that about?

To a certain extent, it's about the Heat, a dominance machine that has never seemed quite comfortable with its chosen identity and shape. But there's more at work here than that, and the resistance to the Heat is broader than just this one team. The problem, if it's a problem, is bigger than them.

Instead, this is a problem with the idea of cheering for dominance. Obviously there are a great many fans who remain untroubled by that, and who hop from one winner to another; "Bandwagoner" and "frontrunner" are insults, but not pointed enough to dissuade fans who would chase winners from doing so. The issue, for those to whom it's an issue at all, is a narrative one, and more precisely relating to character. It is seen as admirable—and by most lights is admirable—to suffer along with a losing team. Winning teams have it worse: if multiple championships are won, if too much success is achieved, if it's all too predictable or too easy-seeming, then the winner is a villain.

This is not going to be some Rand-ian screed on behalf of the wronged victors. But something is lost in this all the same. The YouTube videos of "The Flu Game" and "The Shrug" and "The Shot" never get old and never fail to induce goosebumps, and their potency derives entirely from Michael Jordan's. His brilliance was bigger than any narrative concern—of course he would win; the getting there was the part we thrilled to.

So why aren't the voters in the Sportsnation poll—and, even more anecdotally, the rest of us—rooting for LeBron and the Heat to reach similar heights, and mint similar I-was-there memories? In 20 years no one outside of their respective markets is going to be talking about the memorable 2013 Pacers team or Bulls team or Knicks team that upended the Heat in the playoffs, should that happen. A Heat championship, won in the forceful, brutally beautiful style of the 27-game winning streak, would be something for everyone to talk about. It would endure. Do we really not want this?


I get it not wanting it, to be honest. It still feels weird to root for the LeBron and the Heat, after The Decision, after the sickeningly braggadocious Big Three pep rally. I'm a Dallas native and Mavericks supporter; there aren't many fan bases outside of Cleveland that have a longer list of reasons to despise the Heat (and actually, despise is probably not strong enough of a word for my feelings toward Dwyane Wade after the 2006 Finals). Yes, The Decision was ill-advised and ill-executed and in spectacularly poor taste. "Not one, not two, not three…" was atrocious, bad taste and bad execution again, but the Heat already got that shoved back in their faces via their embarrassment in the 2011 Finals. That closed the circuit. We could have moved on, that ritual humbling completed, and enjoyed our dynasty. But, somehow, we haven't.

This is not because the Heat are more loathsome than other dynasties. They're inevitable, sure; that's their nature. But they don't possess the crass high-handedness and bellowing elitism of the Yankees; they lack the icily smug dismissiveness of Bill Belichick's Patriots. LeBron and Wade, for all their artifice and entitlement, don't even have the coiled, seething a-holishness of Kobe Bryant. None of the above are as morally queasy as Tiger Woods. It is easier to find a reason to reject all of the aforementioned than it is to reject the Heat.

And LeBron, finally: well, it's not his fault that he's LeBron James. And, in the way that growing up improves a person, being LeBron James has become more appealing of late. James has always been charismatic, but he seems increasingly comfortable with his role, and more willing to use its leverage to express what are generally noble positions. He is, as Joe Biden once said of another controversial and not-necessarily-likable genius, clean and articulate. James cares about and respects the game, and is great at it; at his best, he elevates it in a way no player ever has. All that and he runs on the court and playfully tackles randos that sink half-court shots; he's hilarious in parody videos. Jordan's darkness and meanness is not at all in evidence, if it's there at all. James is fun, and he's great.

The streak was in large part his work, and it was fun, and it was great. It breathed a strange and exciting life into what's normally not a very entertaining stretch of the season and so was, for all its insignificance, faintly miraculous. There's no fault in being glad it's over, or in pulling for an upset or an underdog; we're human, and that is, too. But let's not deny ourselves what LeBron and them are offering us, and let's not ignore what it is or what it means.

The streak has come and gone, but the rest of it—whatever's left of the great LeBron experiment in Miami—is not nearly finished. It won't be perfect, and it may not be imperfect enough. But we may not see it again for a long while, and so we might as well watch.

Share |


Much appreciated you all that much to share these connections. Will look at this.. Phone number tracker with name

Recent times when internet has so much gossiping and stuff, your content really refreshes me. Brian Holm Attorney San Diego

Thanks for the blog post buddy! Keep them coming... where can i buy forskolin

Awesome post, you have pointed out some incredible focuses , I in like manner think this s an exceptionally brilliant site. holm law group san diego

This blog Info is fabulous; I must wanna see best more from your writers.

This blog Info is fabulous; I must wanna see best more from your writers.

This blog Info is fabulous; I must wanna see best more from your writers.

I would be flattened if all websites gave articles like that. lowcountry style homes

Check out some factors that you need to consider before buying the right material for your affordable small yard signs. cheap small yard signs yard signs printing

Thumbs up guys your doing a really good job. assisted living in st croix

I would surely give 10 on 10 for such incredible content. trademark registration lawyer

The spheric publication inks industry has been estimated from 2014 to 2020 cheapest Business Cards at cheap55printing.com

http://www.markedsindex.dk/blog/B992/Koncertbussen-Fyn.aspx Actually I am not habituate to reply a comment on blogs but this blog caught my attention and I am compelled to write a comment here to express my gratitude to you. I would like to appreciate for this awesome work.

Took me time to understand all of the comments, but I seriously enjoyed the write-up. It proved being really helpful to me and Im positive to all of the commenters right here! designer leather handbag

It is basic that we read blog entry painstakingly. I am as of now done it and find this post is truly stunning. non-medical in-home care in bergen county

In case that your advertising strategy nevertheless doesn’t encompass postcards, you're approximately to know a income tool for very low fee this is particularly effective. affordable 8 page brochure printing

This internet magazine is sincerely remarkable. The facts here will honestly be of a few assist to me. plenty preferred!. seo packages pdf

Really amazing blog, I’d love to discover some extra information.
type a essay

Awesome! It’s genuinely awesome article, I even have got obvious idea concerning from this article.
write my papers

Excellent effort to make this blog more wonderful and attractive.

You can share instructive and astounding posts. You can welcome others to see your post. free twitter followers | clash of clans hack

I was getting bore since morning but as soon as I got this link & reached at this blog, I turned into fresh and also joyful too.

While the admin of the web site is working, no question soon it will likely be famous, due to its feature blogs.

visit this site right here

While the admin of the web site is working, no question soon it will likely be famous, due to its feature blogs.

visit this site right here

Info is implausible, I would want to see more and more from your writers.

the dispatching control to guarantee the sustainable development of these sources and their greater and more efficient integration into the national electricity system.download minecraft pc free |
online psn code generator

Excellent post! I had been fed up for a long time searching lots of sites, but now I have come on the right place. Thanks

I had been trying for the good information and having come to your blog I have found everything which I wanted.
type my essay

Nobody can reject the info you have given in the blogs, this is actually a great work.
Chris Walker - SEO firm

This kind of blogs is too attractive that catch the attention of anyone through their great features.
type my essay for me

Cool blog! Because of the way you explained, the things you defined, I have been adorer of your site…
Chris Walker - best SEO firm

You may post on the quotes for the blog. You could tell how it's brand new. Your blog thoughts will springboard your participates.voyance tarot

I feel happiness to read the content that you are posting.
Email Tools

Your dazzling work has won my heart. I’ll come soon to your site with new hope.

What a great opportunity to get rid of all your infinite problems in just glimpses!! Surprised by the way it works. They are very functional! I hope everyone gets to utilize it for their good!concrete contractors Dallas

Whether somebody pursuit of his vital thing, hence he or she desires to be accessible that at length, hence that thing is maintained over here.
payday advances

Great details here, better yet to discover out your blog which is fantastic. Nicely done!!!
Mark Curry Macfarlane Group

You bear through to awesome vacancy. I definitely quarry sanity , Moreover it personally to my buddys Suggest. I am self-possessed determination be benefited They from this scene. michael spencer gilroy

Your articles don’t beat about the bushes these are actually exact t to the purpose.
0nline pay day loan

I continuously continue coming to your website once more simply in case you have posted new contents.
12 week mastery reviews

I continuously continue coming to your website once more simply in case you have posted new contents.
12 week mastery review

This post is really valuable that designed for the new visitors. Pleasing work, keep on writing.

Thanks a lot for publishing the new good stuff for us. I’ll really get the great advantage from your good stuff.
car insurance rates in ohio state

This is surely a very good blog, thanks a lot for sharing such nice information here.Durable Computers

I don’t waste my free time that’s why I read the informative things when I got this blog I really enjoyed reading this.Active Back To Health

Miraculous blog site!! I would surely bookmark this site and every day I’ll get more and more latest information.
AAA Concreting

Your articles are more than wow! And also the best way to make understand the things mentioned in it.
Mark Curry

The Bulls call a timeout and it seems clear that it's happening again, that in all likelihood the Heat will go on to win their 28th consecutive game. A few minutes later Shane Battier and Mario Chalmers hit open threes and the Heat take their first lead.
download minecraft for free |
psn codes free

I am really appreciating very much by seeing your interesting posts.
Shailendra Singh

I continuously continue coming to your website once more simply in case you have posted new contents.
Shailendra Singh