So this is what it feels like to be in the middle of a dynastic cycle. If I were shown the nearby picture of the 2008 USA Olympic basketball team, I would have seen a relaxed bench at the end of a blowout. Pat Riley saw a dynasty.
As fans of a major American sports team in our hometown, this is a moment afforded to few other communities, ever. With the basketball world’s attention about to be focused on our team and city over the next week, it will not get better than this for us Miamians and Heat fans.
This belief is not dependent on whether the Heat beat the Spurs again this year. I literally mean right now, with the NBA Finals series 1-1. Here’s why:
- Even the slightest doubt by the most irrational of fans, makes the eventual outcome of this series sweeter or more bitter, or what the Dan LeBatard Show refers to as ‘the dirty pants.’
- My opinion is that what matters most to us fans is that our team be competitive, with real prospects of winning a championship. To actually win is so dependent on random variables [officiating, injuries etc], it isn’t the main enjoyment of following a team.
- The best illustration of my point is the Marlins franchise.
- The 1997 Marlins were never in 1st place in their own division beyond April. The team had 2 All-Star reserves and no dominant players. They made the playoffs as the wild-card and were almost immediately disbanded following the World Series. The Marlins microwaved fan joy. The Heat slow-roast.
- As of today, the Miami Heat team formed by Pat Riley in July 2010 has really only failed to provide one thing to its fans in four years. Forcing a game 7 in the 2011 NBA Finals. The lyric “regrets … too few to mention” comes to mind.
- The Heat have been a title favorite in each of their four years, feature four likely future Hall of Famers, have role players nearing the end of accomplished NBA careers and the NBA’s best player.
- The stability throughout the franchise, combined with this year’s playoff run would seem to guarantee that James, Wade and Bosh will return for at least one more year, likely more.
Even the decline portion of this dynastic cycle promises to be interesting. That’s why for Miami Heat fans, especially Miamians, right now is as good as it gets, eschatological concerns aside.