MIAMI, FL - JUNE 25: The Larry O'Brien Trophy sits on display during a celebration for the 2012 NBA Champion Miami Heat at American Airlines Arena on June 25, 2012 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
The Miami Heat are a lovable band of goofballs; it's finally time to go ahead and admit that. In fact, they sort of remind us of one of our favorite families of all time.
The Miami Heat are finally, officially, the champions of basketball. On Monday, the Heat brought a victory parade to South Beach as the well-earned celebrations kept on rolling. The players were, of course, in high spirits. One image from the celebration caught our eye when it aired on SportsCenter on Monday night.
It had somehow never come to our attention before, but there's a resemblance between a jubilant Juwan Howard and a certain lovable ne'er-do-well who captured a nation's hearts some years ago. Do you see it?
Here, I'll provide a couple of photographic comparisons. (If some of the images in this post do not animate, please click on them.)
On Monday, it finally struck us that Juwan Howard is the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.
We decided to dig deeper, and we discovered that there is a Miami Heat analogue for nearly every member of the cast of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. Don't believe us? Join us on an animated GIF essay that elucidates what we're talking about here.
Erik Spoelstra is Carlton Banks
Of course, this one should be obvious. Who is the nerdiest person on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air? Only one of the most famous nerds of all time.
And who is the nerdiest person on the Heat? Head coach Erik Spoelstra.
Dwyane Wade is Geoffrey
The longest-tenured member of the Heat is the wisest, generally one of the most reserved and composed (relatively; I mean we're talking about a basketball team here) and is generally too old for this bullcrud.
He also likes to keep the house tidy.
Who else could Wade be but the lovable and wizened Banks family butler Geoffrey, who wasn't afraid to raise the roof every once in a while?
LeBron James is Aunt Viv
This analogue has nothing to do with the stale, misogynistic "Queen James" comments or anything of that putrid ilk. This comparison is because James is the stoic and even-keeled head of the family. And also for these two GIFs:
Chris Bosh is Jazz
The lovable slacker best friend to Will, Jazz is endlessly beloved for being a weirdo. Does that sound like anyone familiar?
Also, they're both lousy at high-fives.
Ronny Turiaf is Hilary Banks
It's the hair.
And, of course ...
Shaquille O'Neal is Uncle Phil
Although Shaq was only with the Heat for a short time, he will be tied to them in people's minds for a good while yet. Heck, he was even rumored as a target to become the new Heat GM for a while there. He's also possibly the most earnestly beloved NBA star of the past 20 or so years ... because he's an enormous, goofy teddy bear.
And that's Uncle Phil to a T.
And if all of that isn't enough for you, we have proof that the Heat share the same love and tenderness demonstrated by the beloved cast of The Fresh Prince.
There you have it: proof that it is okay to love the Miami Heat. If you can't love the living, breathing approximations of the greatest television cast of our generation, who can you love?
Of course, the Miami "Big Three" will always pale in comparison to the original "Big Three."
(Many of the Fresh Prince images from this post are courtesy of freshprinceofbelairgifs.tumblr.com, probably one of the best sites on the Internet.)