Somewhere deep within my manic enthusiasm for the Grizzlies’ and Mavericks’ second round success, a tortured voice inside my head screams, “HEAT!! Heat!? Heat? Hea. H..”
Wait, I’m rooting for the Heat? I’m rooting for the Heat. And if there’s any new sentiment that I’m able to put into words it would be, ahem, this: I think I might like LeBron again.
No, I really never thought this day would come. So the fact that it has come in May of 2011 has sent shivers up my basketball veins. It perhaps has a lot to do with the fact that Bron and the Heat are playing the Celtics, the team that just completed a cold-blooded sweep against my Knicks, not just a postseason sweep, but a season sweep, and a preseason sweep. One out of every nine Knicks games this year was a loss to the Celtics, with the Knicks going 0-10 against the Cs this year.
Rooting for the current lesser of two evils is one thing. But I’m afraid this whole liking LeBron thing might last a lot longer than this series. As his characterization of NBA’s lead-villain became all the more overhyped, overblown, and oversaturated – the more of an underdog he became. Now as fans begin to flock toward the previously understated stardom of youngsters Derrick Rose and Kevin Durant, there is suddenly this vacated corner of the league where LeBron stands, by himself – and I want to join him. (Though I wouldn’t be surprised if Chris Bosh was there, too – topless and crying.)
But it might all boil down to this: Before LeBron can fail and fail miserably, he first needs to succeed. We need a reason to hate him, a reason bigger than contrived press conferences and dick moves: success. Success, the birthplace of hate. Population: Lakers, Yankees, Patriots, etc. Until LeBron takes his talents from failure to success, he can only be characterized as a tool, a coward, and a d-bag. For him to transcend those cheap insults and begin to channel true hatred from me and the rest of the country, LeBron must do something he has never done before: win.
I’m not going to say that this paradox is entirely analogous to white supremacists backing Barack Obama, but it’s close. This phenomenon occurred before the 2008 election, where Klan members supported Obama, predicting a failed presidency that would deliver a blow to the black race. The Esquire article gives a humorous portrait of some of the key racists involved, including Erich Gliebe, who delivered this gem:
“Perhaps the best thing for the white race is to have a black president. My only problem with Obama is perhaps he’s not black enough.”
Perhaps the best thing for those who want LeBron to fail is to have him first succeed. My only problem is Rajon Rondo.