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Puskas: Don't lament the Heat



Published: Sun, June 23, 2013 @ 12:06 a.m.

It’s not the Heat. It’s the stupidity.

This is where I’d ordinarily drop a snarky comment about the collective intelligence of Miami fans, especially the fair-weather Heat sycophants — er, supporters — who bolted from their seats and fled American Airlines Arena late in regulation of Game 6 of the NBA Finals.

They were convinced the San Antonio Spurs — up five with 28 seconds to play — were about to win, so why stick around?

I would ordinarily mock the folly of their ways.

But that was the old me, who could hold grudges so long the Hatfields and McCoys would wonder what was wrong with me.

That was the native Clevelander who cringed at the mere mention of LeBron James, was offended that a generation of people who have no idea who our 36th President was incorrectly commandeered the initials LBJ and secretly hoped that Pat Riley drowned in a deep pool of Vitalis on the floor of his bathroom some morning.

OK, the last part is a bit of an embellishment. But I wouldn’t have been too upset if Riley slammed his fingers in a car door or ruined a $3,000 suit and some Italian shoes stomping out a flaming bag of something foul on his doorstep one night.

That was me.

And then — at some point between San Antonio’s epic collapse in Game 6 and James’ impressive performance as Miami clinched a second consecutive title in Game 7 — I realized the folly of my own ways.

Why was I attaching myself to any team not called the Heat, like some interloper, as I did two years ago when the Dallas Mavericks beat Miami in the NBA Finals and in 2012, when the Oklahoma City Thunder couldn’t duplicate the feat?

ABTH — anybody but the Heat — was my motto. And I was not alone. Cleveland and most of Ohio was with me. We were united in our misery.

Maybe we could eventually forgive The Decision — James’ ridiculously ham-handed way of ditching the Cavaliers for South Beach — but forgetting it was out of the question. We had been jilted and we weren’t going to let it go as quickly or easily as people everywhere else demanded.

So instead of just wrapping ourselves up in the day-to-day misery of the teams we love, we openly rooted against James and the Heat. It was fun at first, especially when Dallas — the Mavaliers as they became known — stunned Miami in six games in the 2011 NBA Finals.

But then James and the Heat won a title last season. That should have been the end of it, but I still found myself rooting for the Milwaukee Bucks, then Indiana Pacers, then the Chicago Bulls and finally the Spurs.

And what did it get me? Just more disappointment. Like we don’t have enough with the teams we actually care about.

So forget James and the Heat. If you’re going to be miserable about a team, let it be one you love.

Things are complicated enough in Cleveland without hating the Heat.

Ed Puskas is The Vindicator sports editor. Write him at epuskas@vindy.com and also follow him on Twitter, @edpuskas85.


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