As the Miami Heat leads their series with the Boston Celtics, ESPN reports that the Celtics provided the blueprint for what LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh put together in Miami. ”Seeing guys make sacrifices to come together and play as one. They set the blueprint and went out there and did it. They won a championship. They competed every year” James said.
“With LeBron losing to Boston in Cleveland in the playoffs, he felt like, ‘I gotta do more, I need to be around more to contend for a championship,’ ” Wade said. “Me feeling the same way going into the summer, saying that I needed more, it was because of Boston. They knocked us out.”
Prior to this season I couldn’t stand Boston. Kevin Garnett’s fake tough guy attitude must have provided the blueprint for Chris Bosh. KG was seemingly always picking on guys the size of Spud Webb. Then there’s the fact that he demanded a trade out of Minnesota, which was then granted by former Celtics legend Kevin McHale. You know the deal is bad when Bill Simmons is getting the better end of it for his Celtics and still can’t figure out how it is possible.
“My NBA guide claims that McHale retired from the Celtics in 1993, but apparently that’s a misprint,” wrote Simmons. “How else could you explain his decision to trade Kevin Garnett to Boston for the Al Jefferson pu pu platter deluxe?” At least in this case you could still root for your GM to get the better end of a trade.
Meanwhile, as the Cavaliers were battling for the Eastern Conference every year I thought there was some moral highground around suffering all those years and then winning the lottery like the Cavaliers had done. My biggest mistake was thinking there was any kind of moral high ground to be had in the NBA.
When it came time to watch the NBA playoffs this season, it shouldn’t be any wonder that I was looking for excuses to not care about rooting against the Heat than I was for teams to beat them. Now that James and Wade have come out saying that the Celtics were their model? Even worse.
Plus, notice something about this new NBA? Has anyone mentioned the fans at all? They’re an afterthought in every scenario. As if the exorbitant amounts of money aren’t enough. These guys don’t care about anything but themselves and what’s good for them personally. The Heat took the Celtics model a step further too. The Celtics were built by general managers with trades. The Heat basically built themselves based on aligned free agency dates and a little bit of mentorship from Pat Riley.
Defenders of the league still start crowing about TV ratings and how amazing the NBA game is in the playoffs this year. On a technicality I guess I can’t disagree with them. These matchups are just as amazing as any set card that Vince McMahon could draw up for Wrestlemania in a given year. Problem is that I am not an NBA fan nearly as much as I am a Cavaliers fan.
I get the feeling that David Stern and company don’t really care though. They figure the more the players move around the more “NBA fans” they can breed instead of fans who are tied to a local team exclusively. The biggest criticisms I have received for my commentary on the NBA playoffs is from NBA fans who just want to see the best matchups all the time. Maybe it is my problem, but I will never be able to think that way.
That’s why I can’t root for the Celtics. The enemy of my enemy just isn’t a satisfactory enough strategy for me this year. I’ll just be waiting it out until I can root for the Cavaliers again.
(AP Photo/Elise Amendola)