All this month it’s been fun going back and forth with the fans of other sports teams about who’s going to win what. There are heartbroken Penguin fans and excited A’s fans. There are confident Brazil fans and nervous Spurs fans.
It always starts off with everyone promoting their team but once it gets down to two teams, us versus you, it gets personal. For the last two weeks the exchanges between Miami Heat and San Antonio Spurs teams have gotten more and more nasty. The word “hater” comes up almost hourly.
So why do we all hate Miami, except for those who live in Florida? How does the Dallas Cowboys go from America’s Team to America’s most hated team? Why is it impossible to be ambivalent about the Yankees or Manchester United?
For me, it’s simple. It’s the way the super power went about making their team a super power. Manchester United has an amazing youth academy and more likely than not, their studs come thru their system. Yeah, every summer they’re in the running for the most expensive, sought-after player of the off-season and they usually get said player, but the core of the team is home grown.
Their cross town rivals Manchester City are a world power for a very different reason. They had a billionaire come in, buy the team, and spend hundreds of millions of pounds on the best players on the planet. Almost overnight they went from so-so afterthoughts to perennial contenders.
The Yankees are inbetween. It’s a mixture of both with them. They buy the best free agents but they also have a great farm system and talent scouts. Teams like the Yankees and Lakers are rarely bad for long because the name alone draws big time players.
When offered $30 million a year to play in Missouri or $25 million a year to play in New York, most players will leave money on the table just to be on a bigger stage with a tradition-strong team.
How small market teams remain relevent is a mystery to me. They have to do everything right. The San Antonio Spurs do everything right. Not only do they find the diamonds in the rough (and in foreign leagues), they also find the type of player who will actually want to stay in south Texas after they’re a household name. Do you think Kobe would still be in San Antonio if they’d drafted him out of high school? Yeah right.
Amazingly there is more club loyalty in America, more so than in the European soccer leagues at least. It’s incredibly rare to find a player who spends his entire career with one team over there, unless he’s lucky enough to be with a winner from the get go like Ryan Giggs and Gary Neville with Manchester United.
There aren’t that many Reggie Millers and John Stocktons in Europe, though there are certainly exceptions. Any time a good player follows his team to the lower divisions when they get relegated is commendable, and rare.
So why do I hate Miami and why should the people of southern Florida not be completely happy with the success they’re having? Because some super star players who could’ve gone anywhere decided to team up and make a super power. The big 3 stayed in the East because it was easier than competing with the Lakers, Spurs, and Mavericks. They went to Miami because it’s a big market and a fun city. Yeah Wade was already there but don’t forget how close he came to leaving that summer!
That amazing team fell into the lap of the city of Miami and they could’ve gone anywhere else. We could all be whining about Sacramento right now if that’s where they decided to go.
I don’t blame the players for doing that. It’s a little unfair, but the league rules allow it to happen. At least we have a salary cap unlike European soccer where billionaires can have 15 high paid players on the side. Then again it’s pointless to have a salary cap when the players agree to work for less just to hoard talent on one bench.
On the flip side, what the Heat are doing doesn’t always work. The Rockets didn’t win with Barkley. The Lakers didn’t win with Malone and Payton. The Heat are young though. they weren’t thinking of one last run for a title, they were thinking of not four, not five, not six, blah blah blah.
Like I said, I don’t mind the players doing that, what gets on my nerves is the Miami fans who think they deserve all this success. You don’t. You were lucky they picked your city. You should be grateful and not obnoxious. I understand that no true fan will turn their back on their team for doing making some moves you don’t agree with. You stand by your team no matter what. Trust me, my life as a Liverpool fan the last 7 years has been hell because of the moves they make and don’t make. Before then I was proud of everything about that great club.
Lastly, I just don’t like LeBron. It’s not hating great talent. I hate Kobe, but I respect him. I know who he is and what he stands for. He makes a good villain. I love beating him, but I’ll be the first to say he’s the best player in our generation, after Jordan of course.
LeBron just always says exactly the right thing at the right time and his whole life is a cliché. I think he may be a robot. The only time I have heard him say anything that truly expressed something human, was that “not seven titles” debacle. Yeah, that was obnoxious but he has never been more real in his life. I actually don’t mind him doing that at all.
These days, I would love it if showed some emotion, good or bad, at any time in his life. I would love it if he admitted he was overwhelmed, or scared, or not worried about an opponent, or that he hates an opponent. Shaq wasn’t shy about that; Cristiano Ronaldo has enemies.
I’m pretty sure LeBron’s PR person has a bug in his ear at all times. It’s sickening how far away he is from anything controversial now. Tim Duncan may be even further from controversy, but I don’t feel like there’s something weird behind the scenes with Timmy. Anyways…
Some people love dynasties. It makes them feel like everything is right with the world. Thier world makes sense if the Yankees are playing in October and the Lakers are playing in June.
Some people always root for the underdog. I’m definitely an underdog kind of guy but if there is a dominate team out there, I want to be able to like them or hate them for the right reasons. I hate Manchester United, but they run a first class organization and deserve their success. I’d much rather them win the league than a fly-by-night pet project of some Russian billionaire or Sheik. How can you really stand behind a team that you know is successful by chance rather than hard work from everyone in the organization from the top down?