Humble Pie and Hat-O-rade!!

The drought for The Ring is dead! ..Long Live the King! Where were you when Lebron James FINALLY put-a-ring-on-it?  I took in this moment in sporting history from the comfort of my couch in Zimbabwe.  Thanks to the time zone difference it was an early start to the day but in those wee hours there were parallels to be drawn as we embraced the dawning of a new day as well as a new era in basketball.  A line has been drawn in the sandy beaches of Miami, signifying the transition from mere, though immense, potential to the realisation of the first steps of a dream.  Lebron can fear no-more the possibility of ending his career as probably the Greatest player to NEVER win a ring.  Though it is still fresh, we now live in a post LBJ-is -a-champion era, and it is rather splendid if I do say so myself….and I do.!

With that 1 win, and the Finals MVP trophy to boot, LBJ may not have silenced all his critics (read haters), BUT he has gone a long way down the path of vindication.  And it is vindication that is also mirrored by the Miami Heat after failing to instantly deliver a championship banner in the 1st season that followed THE EXPERIMENT that was birthed out of THE DECISION!  Instead of immediately delivering on the brash promises to deliver at least 7 NBA Titles to hang next to the lonely one that adornes the American-Airlines Arena’s rafters, they left last year’s NBA Finals with heads hung low.  Sadly though it was not low enough for they failed to escape the radars of those who made it their mission to gloat, make merry and revel in whatever mediocre returns The Heat delivered. What started with a bang, and promised much fireworks, ended in a sorry whimper as the #1 ranked Experiment became the Biggest Loser.

It was not Cleveland alone that expressed their delight, still in the glaring glow and Heat of the flames of hatred fuelled by the enmasse burning LBJ’s jersey.  Indeed it appeared the only place The Heat were  appreciated was in their own arena as most road-trips presented opposition fans with the platform to belt out a chorus of boos, at times even at the expense of cheering on their own franchise.  The way they were treated may not be entirely justifiable BUT I can empathise with the Heat detractors.  As a sports fan we all want to root for a winning cause,  by associate ourselves with success from a source that we may not necessarily have made much of a direct contribution too.  We keep the faith in our  chosen collection of heroes as they stumble along towards the same goal.  We endure a myriad of emotions and tolerate the uncertainty of it all because that uncertainty is a great leveller, and the realm of the unkown is what gives us the hope that perhaps our chosen team will be due a trip to the winners’ circle sooner rather than later.

So it is understandable why a lot of fans were enraged by THE EXPERIMENT that created Miami’s-Big-3, because all of a sudden it seemed that LeBron, Dwyayne & Chris were now providing a certainty that not many were too comfortable with.  They were “certainly” going to win, and “certainly” win a lot, and be dominant for a “certainly” long time (unless of course they opted to win their minimum 7 titles in batches).  So try as we might, to believe that it was all hot air, we unwillingly resignged ourselves to the realisation that it was all possible…”certainly”.  THE EXPERIMENT was single handedly going to make that, much sought after, winning feeling the sole preserve of the Miami Heat faithful, so we all became haters united by an unquenchable desire to see them, and particularly LeBron.  We yearned for the chance to see them fall flat on their faces, &  to quote the legendary Pat Reilly, “Oh how sweet it was…” when the aptly named Mavericks went against conventional wisdom and delayed the cranking up of the Miami Sound Machine!

Not winning their 1st available NBA Title could have been the best thing to happen to Miami and, in particular, LeBron.  The delay provided a chance to see the formation of steely character, which is a well appreciated commodity amongst sports fans.  Win or Lose we appreciate witnessing our heroes make an effort, leaving it all on the battlefield, and then somehow still finding some reserves to still get up and trudge on to the next battle.  If the only effort we see being put in is when trophies are lifted then it’s a hollow victory, possibly bordering on being without merit.  It is for that reason that Rocky movies will always, outsell & outlive anything Steven Seagal stars in.  If it all seems to easy and almost inevitable, the “victors'” sweet taste of success will be outweighed by the bitter resentment that is aimed at them by their detractors (read haters).

In the aftermath of that Finals defeat to the Mavs we all finally got a chance to see what all sports fans relish….a team (and Legend in the making) on the ropes and still coming back swinging.  A group of individuals who were down, and seemingly out for count, who decided that the orbituaries were premature and kicked on again, now against the odds.  A squad who, as their Coach Spoelstra put it (and I paraphrase)…were so irritated by having dirt thrown on their faces before they were dead, that they shook it off and proceeded to reel out one herculean effort after another in their quest for Gold.  And in all this toil they endeared themselves back to us.

Instead of an orbituary the Miami Heat class of 2012 has now written themselves onto an indelible honours roll whose feats now epitomise the essense of TEAM.  While LeBron deservedly got the finals MVP accolade, he will certainly be the first to admit that it was by no means (if you will pardon-the-pun) a Maverick effort for that would in itself be too Cavelier (pardon me again).  The Cavalry was required and they can ALL feel a deep sense of achievement that cannot only be limited to LeBron or the other 2 legs of the tri-pod.  While it is easy to pick out the two I’s in mIamI….there is still no room for them in TEAM.  No individual or select group of players can exclusively boast in this victory. Instaed the Golden NBA Title trophy bears testament to the purification process that is forged by HEAT and no impurities like egos and self centredness can survive it.  Otherwise the FACTS below would not have been possible…

Miami Heat are – 1st NBA team ever to win title after trailing in 3 different postseason series.

LeBron James  – with a triple-double. The 1st in a Finals clincher since Tim Duncan in 2003 LeBron’s triple double, 8th of postseason career, becomes first player since Magic to do it twice in Finals LeBron James first guy to be regular-season and Finals MVP since Tim Duncan in 2003

This Championship- had been a looooong time coming and has redeemed the careers of many more players….3 Heat players win their 1st NBA title having played 10+ seasons–Juwan Howard (18th season), Mike Miller (12th), Shane Battier (11th)

A lot of people will see the facts above and still choose to respond to LeBron and Miami with HATE and not appreciate the HEAT.  Some will begrudgingly bow down to the majesty of King James while nibbling on some healthy portions of Humble Pie, which will be accompanied by some slow matured (over a decade old) Hat-O-rade. But quite a few…myself included will be willingly giving props to where they are due and acknowledging that The King now sits on a Legitimate throne.  We gladly proclaim…

“The drought for the Ring is dead!, Long Live The King!!, as Lebron & the Miami Heat join the Fellowship of the Rings and if we listen closely enough we can hear them whisper …”…My Precioussssssss….” as they caress their trophy.

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