Since we left this series a month ago, thehave been written off as pretenders and failures, and then rallied to win nine straight coming into tomorrow night's game at home against Cleveland. Meanwhile, the have lost 12 of their last fifteen 15 games, and ... yeah, they still exist.
But before we get to this week's installment of the Heat and the Hopeless, a word about the future. The past few weeks have made it difficult to keep up with this feature, but I promise, we're not giving up. Blame the NFL and Cam Newton for the distraction. Going forward, there may not be as many big articles surrounding these two polar opposites, but there'll be smaller stuff that comes up more frequently. And you'll be able to find all of it in this section on SBNation.com. Cool? Cool.
Now let's move on to today's news.
The Miami Heat's Intro Video Explains It All
You've probably seen the video before, and Tom Ziller had a post on it late Friday afternoon, but we need to give this a closer look. If there's one artifact that best encompasses why the 2010 Miami Heat have been the most surreal sports team of my lifetime, it's this:
Not only did Miami basically commission a hip-hop video for their intros, but they set it to music from Phil Collins. It'd be impossible to pick a more melodramatic background track. So, really: If we're looking for a way to explain to future generations how out of control the Miami Heat got, we needn't go any further than to show them this video, and say, "Everyone thought this was a good idea at the time."
It's a little bit like the July Victory Party in that respect, except that the rally only featured the Big Three, and that leaves wayyyy too much comedy on the table. It's funny enough to see staring into the camera here, trying SO HARD to look cool:
...But you can't truly capture the absurdity of the 2010 Heat without highlighting the role players at the same time. For instance, there's this fella here:
Or the guy from Blood Diamond, modeling J. Crew's winter catalog:
Or, prepping for a career as a B-list R&B sensation:
It's a pretty sublime intersection of stars that take themselves too seriously (Wade, Bosh, and LeBron) and a bunch of guys that make us step back and say, "Wait, who is THAT?" Ten years from now, you will almost certainly assumewas the team trainer:
And all together, this little intro perfectly encapsulates the two biggest flaws with the Miami Heat this year. First, their role players are really, really awful. Mario Chalmers, Carlos Arroyo,, , , (RIP), and on and on. It's one thing to have a weak link in a star-studded cast, it's quite another when 75 percent of your team is extras.
Who's the supporting cast in Miami? There's, maybe , and then everyone else is an extra, right? I mean, just watch the intro video. Who ARE these guys?
Second, and more important, only the Miami Heat would agree to make an intro set to Phil Collins. While just about every other NBA team in the league bounds into the huddle with hip-hop blaring, this is Miami's way of saying, "This is more than basketball." Maybe they thought this would be their version of the Alan Parsons Project.'
Whatever the inspiration, it's great. The Heat clearly thought this would be super-cool and dramatic, but it comes off as cliche, contrived, and comically self-indulgent. Basically, the joke's on them. Remember when I said this intro was the epitome of the 2010 Miami Heat?
What's The Opposite Of The Epitome Of The 2010 Miami Heat?
's thoughts on the T'Wolves new uniforms: "On a scale of 1-to-10? Like a 45."
While the Heat shatter the unintentional comedy scale taking themselves sooooo seriously, thousands of miles to the north, Beasley and the Timberwolves are just funny on their own. And yeah, the Wolves are 12 games under-.500, but isn't it a thousand times easier to root for a team that actually seems happy? The Heat make us wince, the Timberwolves make us smirk.
Yeah, it's still a lot more lucrative to be the unsmiling villain -- LeBron's shoe was the best selling basketball sneaker in the month of November, he leads the NBA in jersey sales, and the Heat own 23 percent of the market share, in general -- but that's a whole 'nother story.
Millions of fans may want to imitate the dominance of LeBron and the Heat, but they're still impossible to identify with, let alone embrace. The Timberwolves are just more fun. Faced with the choice between an ass clown (LeBron) and a clown (Beasley), I think I'm choosing the clown.
Think of the reasons we get tired of professional sports. It's can sometimes feel like prepackaged melodrama, with overpaid stars that take themselves too seriously, evoking a spectacle that's as absurd and childish as it is insulting to our intelligence. If I were trying to convince a non-sports fan why I love sports, the Miami Heat would be the last team on earth I'd mention.
But think of the reasons we keep coming back. Because as stories like the Miami Heat get beaten to death, there are still idiosyncrasies that are unique to sports. Characters like Michael Beasley and, who aren't afraid to make fun of themselves, and make the games more fun just by showing up and being themselves. Instead of the usual mean-mugging, you're more likely to catch one of them with a sheepish grin. Or doing this:
Comparing a team with no pressure to a team with all the pressure in the world is probably unfair, but still. It's hard to argue that the Heat don't take themselves too seriously, and the T'Wolves are seriously lovable as perpetual losers. Some things are just too good to ignore.
So despite the month-long absence, here's to keeping this series going for the rest of the year. Because the Miami Heat are too ridiculous too ignore, and the T'Wolves have been unfairly ignored for too long. In the end, it's all entertainment, so we might as well have fun with it.