The 12 Days of Bullsmas. Day 3: The Miami Heat

Posted: December 15, 2011 by Mauricio Rubio Jr. in Basketball, NBA
Tags: , , , , , ,

Moe Rubio is running through the gauntlet and posting every day for 12 straight days, here is day three of Bullsmas.

The NBA villains arrived with pomp, a WWF (I’ll always call it WWF, WWE just looks stupid) style intro to announce that the heels of the basketball world were here to destroy your dreams and crush your hearts. They were winning multiple championships, so just start handing them over. The death knight trio of Bosh, Wade and James were coming.

And so they faltered out of the gates early last season, failed to set an NBA record for wins, were swept by the Bulls in the regular season, had trouble finding chemistry, looked downright lost at times and while they did advance to the NBA Finals, they were beaten by a veteran team that no one predicted would come this far.

Basketball narratives are a fickle beast. Destiny has been calling for a Kobe-LeBron showdown of epic proportions, the battle to determine whose legacy will be everlasting. It’s the type of match up that dreams and nightmares are made of, the classic battle of two sublime basketball would be legends looking to forever cement themselves in the minds of bucket heads as the superior player.

It hasn’t happened yet, and with the dwindling star of Kobe Bryant fading into the background, a new epic is looking to unfold. There are many challengers to the throne, but the two teams whose fates are seemingly intertwined are the Chicago Bulls and the Miami Heat.

Miami has been building towards this moment. There have been numerous rumors circulation around when Dwyane Wade began to whisper sweet nothings into the ears of James and Bosh. You can look back on the false ceremony celebrating a basketball God, when the Heat retired the number of Michael Jordan a full year before the summer of LeBron. LeBron would later fill out the paperwork to change his number from 23 to 6. At the time Bulls fans took it as a sign that the King would make his court in the shadow of a legend.

Perhaps the challenge of living up to Jordan proved too intimidating, but the more likely story is that James and Wade had this planned all along, hoping to drum up interest for themselves and have a lavish coming out party. Like debutantes strolling out to meet their dates, the trio made its way down a catwalk, hoping that destiny would take notice and hand them something that every NBA legend has worked for.

And so the series of events that were set in motion from years previous marched on. Two franchises that have developed somewhat of a minor rivalry pushed both fan bases into full on hate mode.

Being labeled the bad guy is one thing, it’s entirely a different thing to embrace the cold and unloving embrace that is the villain moniker. LeBron James is struggling to find his bearing as the bad guy. Ultimately I think James is a good man. He loves his kids, looks out for his friends, and the brand of basketball he plays isn’t cutthroat. It’s smooth, majestic, it’s beautiful ball.

Being labeled the good guy is one thing, it’s entirely a different thing to rise up and slay the dragon when it comes your way. Derrick Rose has the soul of an assassin within him, and as last year proved he is willing to push it to the limit when it comes to improving his game. This Bulls team has to rise to the challenge with him, because I feel that a rematch with the Miami Heat is inevitable.

It has the makings of an epic story, a true rivalry that the NBA has lacked since the days of Bird and Magic. The dogs of hell will be unleashed again as the two teams will likely do battle again for Eastern Conference supremacy. The pleasantries should be gone by then, and the question will be renewed again with Rose and James.

The Heat improved their fortunes by adding a battle tested veteran in Shane Battier. His contributions are both visible and intangible. He can hit the open 3, plays great defense and is one of the smarter players in the league. He adds depth in the frontcourt, something Miami has been sorely lacking since their deal with the devil.

This is the nicest, least creepy picture I could find of Lucifer.

The arms race is being won by the Miami Heat at this point, but as we all know, champions are not predestined, they are not determined by the offseason. The Heat will have to find out what LeBron James is made of in the playoffs in order for them to succeed. For all the brilliance we witnessed in the Bulls series, the giant became a dwarf on the games biggest stage.

LeBron missed his call to join and perhaps even surpass Michael Jordan. The most sublimely talented athlete I’ve ever seen is a mental midget. He’s 6’8 and 260 lbs of fast, but when the time comes for him to impose his will, he disappears. The cold blooded killer is missing in him. The constellation of NBA superstars is littered with great athletes and tremendous talents, but the inner circle is reserved for those who didn’t shy away from the challenge.

The basketball fan in me knows that LeBron James will eventually be a champion. His talent can only be denied for so long before it shows itself in full force on the games biggest stage. But for most fans something will always be missing, he will be more Dr. J and less MJ.

The NBA anti-heroes have a clear inside lane to a championship. The team in their way is perhaps the perfect underdog to root for, but make no mistake, the Heat are a team to be reckoned with.

The Heat and the Bulls play each other 4 times in a shortened season, that should tell you all you need to know about what the league thinks of this match up. The song that best describes the rivalry is below.

 

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