From the moment the 2010-11 NBA season tipped off, most casual basketball fans tuned in on opening night because they wanted to see what the Miami Heat would look like. And who better than to put them up against than the defending Eastern Conference champions, the Boston Celtics.
After seeing Miami lose in Boston, people thought they would trample most teams which was the case early (especially after the beat down they gave Orlando) but then the team hit a slump (one we're not sure is over yet). The Heat has generated an abnormal level of hatred because of their charade of team meetings during free agency, LeBron's "The Decision" and also the celebration they held to present Chris Bosh, Dwyane Wade and LeBron James to the home crowd.
With that said, here's the little fact that no one really cares to mention: the Heat have made the regular season relevant...for now. The Celtics have come out this season with a huge chip on their shoulder as they want to serve notice to the rest of the league that the road to the East's crown still goes through Boston.
The Los Angeles Lakers on the other hand are perhaps the least discussed two time defending champion since the 1995-96 Houston Rockets. Outside of Los Angeles, all people want to talk about is how Miami's "3 Unit" just cannot seem to coexist. And yet, whether we care to admit it or not, this much fandom is great for the NBA. Indeed, the first Heat-Celtics game this season attracted 7,433,000 viewers, thus making it the most watched regular season NBA game on cable of all time (yes of all time). So whether you like this current Miami team or not, embrace your love/hate relationship for them because it helps sell the league.
Indeed, the NBA will be pimping the LeBron James hate fest this Thursday when his team travels to Cleveland in what will be his first ever game at Quicken Loans Arena in a non Cavs uniform. If the Heat lose, most people outside of Miami will probably go home happy given their antipathy of the team. So for the time being, it would seem that a bad Heat team is in fact good for the NBA so far because people love to see them lose. But what happens if they start winning? The interest that’s being generated in large part because of the team’s mediocrity may in fact fade if the team starts winning consistently. We should get a better indicator of this after Thursday’s game but in the meantime 50 Cent wants to share a new verse:
“Heat it or love it, don of dons NOT on top…..”
Quick hit: If the Cavaliers win on Thursday night, it might just bring back to life the career of David Caruso as his CSI: Miami crew may have to investigate the assassination of LeBron James’ character. Mind you, if the home team were to lose, expect a brand new show on CBS the following week titled CSI: Quicken Loans Arena.
Questions or comments? Feel free to leave them in the comments section or you can contact me by email at Shyne@Sbgorillas.com. You can also find me on Twitter with the handle name ShyneIV.
Image courtesy of NBA.COM