The Miami Heat adopted the role of the villain last season. It was expected. They pulled off the biggest free agency haul in not just NBA history, but in sports history overall. Lebron James was vilified because of “The Decision” and his loud mouth, calling for multiple championships and saying, “Once the games begin, it will be easy.” The Heat were hated because people perceived them to be celebrating a championship before they even won anything. The truth about this was, the Heat wanted to do something for the fans and they did. If the rest of the NBA hates them for that, sucks for the rest of the NBA for not appreciating what the Heat did for their fans. It’s not the Heat’s fault that ESPN decided it was a “celebration” that everyone needed to see.
All that happened, fine, the Heat were the villains last season. The big 3 did not make the smartest of decisions to help themselves either. Making fun of Dirk Nowitzki for being sick in the Finals, in front of the camera is included in that. They made plenty of dumb moves and deserved a lot of the scrutiny that came their way.
Since then, however, everything the Heat have done has been put under a microscope. The Heat win, people nitpick. The Heat lose, people claim the Heat were never good enough to win in the first place. If the Heat win a championship, it is because they were supposed to. If they lose, it is because they are not good enough.
When people want to bash the Heat, Chris Bosh becomes a top-10 player in the NBA to make the Heat look worse for losing. When people want to push their team over the Heat, Bosh is a mediocre player that got highly overpaid. Which one is it guys?
In the all-star game, Wade accidentally breaks Kobe Bryant’s nose, he is seen as a dirty player. Kendrick Perkins kicks Wade in his face, Wade reacts, he is a “classless clown.” Last night, Lebron James gets fouled hard and walks away from a potential confrontation before anything escalates, everyone calls him “soft.” Lebron decides to take the high road and tell everyone “Russ is not a dirty player,” no one acknowledges he did the right thing.
The Heat could feed all the homeless people in America and people will turn their heads, because the Miami Heat are supposed to be classless.
An example of that is the story of Lebron James allowing to the military to take picture with the team when they were waiting on their plane to fuel in Oklahoma City. There were no cameras around, no media members, Lebron did it to honor the people protecting our country. If Derrick Rose or Kevin Durant did this, it would be all over every news station. They would be deemed as heroes and everyone would talk about their “amazing” character. Lebron did it, so who cares, right?
People bash Lebron for leaving the Cleveland Cavaliers and say he took the easy way out by going to join Dwyane Wade’s team. Is being the most hated team in sports history and having a huge target on your back every night the easy way out? No it’s not.
Ask Kevin Garnett what the easy way out was. He would likely tell you he took the easy way out and stayed loyal to his team, the Minnesota Timberwolves. That almost cost him an opportunity to win a ring.
Lebron James did not owe the city of Cleveland or the Cavilers franchise anything. He made them a lot of money in his time there, but he did not get the pieces to win a championship around him. Both he and the Cavs knew no one wanted to be in Cleveland. Lebron played out his contract and left as a FREE agent. Emphasis on the FREE! How he announced his decision was stupid though, no doubt.
Flash forward to February 22nd, 2011. Carmelo Anthony forces his way out of Denver to land with the New York Knicks. On December 15, 2011, Chris Paul forces his way out and lands with the Los Angeles Clippers. Flash forward to the news today that Dwight Howard has told the organization that he wants Stan Van Gundy fired. How in the hell are these three players not seen as bigger villains then the Heat?
Carmelo Anthony is not a team player. He was under contract for another season in Denver. He wanted to be in New York, so he forced a trade there. Melo could have done the same thing as Lebron and Bosh and waited for his contract to run out, but he was insistent on being moved.
While in New York, Melo struggled to mesh with Knicks head coach Mike D’Antoni, and it was reported he told the Knicks management, either fire him or trade me. It is no coincidence that shortly after this, that D’Antoni “decided” to step down.
In New Orleans, Chris Paul was doing some of the same. He wanted to be in New York with Melo and Amare more then anything. The Knicks did not have the pieces to land CP3, so he ended up in Los Angeles with the Clippers. The Hornets, the team owned by the NBA, lost out big time.
In Orlando, Dwight Howard wanted out as well. He kept telling the Magic to “roll the dice and take a chance.” He wanted to be seen as the good guy, so he tried his hardest to put everything on the Orlando Magic’s front office. The Magic already weary of losing Tracy McGrady and Shaquille O’Neal obliged.
Dwight knew this. He loved being the center of attention. He wanted people to love him. So what did he do? He told the Magic that he would sign the opt-in clause to stay in Orlando for one more season. If he were really committed to Orlando, he would have signed a new contract.
By signing the opt-in clause for next season, Dwight ensured himself to be loved by the unsuspecting Magic fan and he would again the next season be the center of attention.
He also basically got total control of the Magic franchise. Dwight can decide the fates of coach Stan Van Gundy and GM Otis Smith. Howard has already decided he wants Van Gundy out. He has already told the Magic management. Van Gundy, not too thrilled told the media. He was not about to go out quietly, the same way as he was forced out with the Heat and Shaq, again.
So to recap, the Heat Big 3 are seen as villains because they decided to play together and that is the way the media has portrayed them. Yes, the Heat have made plenty of mistakes along the way to bring the hate to themselves, but they have also been unfairly scrutinized.
Carmelo Anthony forced his way out of Denver, got his coach fired in New York, and killed “Linsanity.” The media still loves him. Lebron honored his contract, Melo did not. Same goes for Chris Paul.
Dwight Howard has used the Orlando Magic franchise as a y0-yo for his amusement. He has put the team through hell, brought them back, and took them right back again.
Dwyane Wade, Lebron James, and Chris Bosh are no saints by any means. But they are not the biggest villains in the NBA anymore. Another big 3 has surpassed them. It is time for the NBA and its fans to open their eyes.