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Rooting Against the Miami Heat

Sportswriters are telling us to get over it. To get over the ego of LeBron James; forget the tastelessly tacky ESPN announcement show where he jilted Cleveland; ignore the three-ring, laser-circus Miami Heat signing event in which LeBron, Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh stood on platforms posing like Greek Gods.

We’re supposed to sit in awe at this dawn of a new dynasty led by a guy many are now calling the greatest basketball player who ever lived. No- I don’t think so. I’m not going to like this one bit. I like my heroes slightly humble and with more than one dimension. Mickey Mantle was deeply flawed but he had the humility to go along with the once-in-a-generation talent. Muhammad Ali backed up his arrogance with grace and power but there was more to him than boxing; he sacrificed the best years of his career on principle- opposing participation in the Vietnam War and refusing induction into the U.S. Army on religious grounds.

One gets the sense the only thing that matters to LeBron James is basking in his own wonderfulness, an exercise that is much easier to do when you have your own huge posses who constantly remind you of your greatness.

I remember his famous return to Cleveland back in March. LeBron reportedly doesn’t like to ride on the team bus and he makes his own travel arrangements. But on this occasion he didn’t clear it with anybody so when he turned up at the player’s parking lot in a limo with a second vehicle behind him carrying his posse of friends, the Cleveland Cavaliers turned him right around. They let him in once he’d come back alone. Then he skipped the pre-game introductions in his old hometown, claiming he forgot and must have been in the bathroom.

He’s got all the talent in the world. Miami has the best basketball team money can buy. So what? The only actually interesting thing about these NBA Finals, is if Dirk Nowitzki and the Dallas Mavericks can somehow manage to derail this Hollywood Dream Team and inject in them, that missing sense of humility. Maybe the addition of a little character will make all the egos a little easier to take.

Oh- so you’re good at basketball? Yawn. Hockey is a much cooler pastime anyway. I have a thing for team sports.

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