It's easier to paint with a broad brush on the Internet, so Miami Heat fans have unfortunately been portrayed as a monolithic group of spoiled bandwagon followers that don't properly appreciate the greatness of their team. The Heat do provide an embarrassment of riches, so it's easy to go overboard. LeBron James is the best player on the planet, the super team staring LeBron, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh has been to three straight NBA Finals and Miami just won their second straight title. The enduring fan moment of the Finals was the image of supporters leaving Game 6 early and being denied re-entry to an epic contest. Yikes.
So how did Heat fans handle the Game 7 win? The brilliance of the Heat run was certainly not lost on team blog Hot Hot Hoops, and their initial reaction piece serves as a reminder that there are dedicated, die-hard followers in every NBA fan base:
Being a fan is a fun thing, but also an incredibly painful and worrisome thing if you happen to be very attached to the results of what a professional team you are in no way affiliated with does on the court. I have honestly grown away from being a fanatic in that sense. I wanted to watch some great basketball in the series, and I was treated to just that, and the fact that the Heat won is only the cherry on top.
This doesn't mean I didn't wince, and smile, and curse at the television, and tweet jokes, and laugh, and display every emotion imaginable in this series.
One of those emotions is extreme admiration for the tremendous basketball we were just shown in the 2013 NBA Finals. The San Antonio Spurs and Miami Heat are so incredibly good at basketball, the coaching staff's are so incredibly adept at making in and in-between game adjustments and preparing teams, that we just probably witnessed something we may not see for a long time.
Meanwhile, the reaction at Spurs blog Pounding the Rock struck a different chord by confronting the agony of defeat while still projecting a hopeful future onto an aging core of top players. The incredible three-year run from Miami may be subject to salary-cap-related stresses in the near future, but for now the crew at Hot Hot Hoops is living in the moment, expressing compassion for Spurs fans caught on the other side of the ledger and basking in the glory of another NBA championship:
The fine line between the win and loss results would make this all a different story, and Miami happens to be on the good side of this story, for now.
I'll certainly enjoy it, but if San Antonio won this series because a few balls bounced the other way, it wouldn't invalidate the Heat.
Thankfully, I won't have to rationalize the series through the lens of being a basketball fan first, and can enjoy both, since my team won as well.
So before the 2013-14 season begins and whispers creep in about trading Chris Bosh,Dwyane Wade's decline, LeBron James' free agency and everything else as soon as Miami endures a moderate losing streak, we get the fortune of being fans of a championship team.
A two-time championship team.
I'm willing to admit it. I'm jealous of you, Miami Heat fans.