Why I am Rooting for LeBron & the Heat

This past week I was in New York City for a conference. On Tuesday night the conference ended and there was a huge after party. We rented out the Sky Room bar/club, which was great, except there was only one TV and Game 6 of the NBA Finals was on.

At 9pm people started gathering around the TV, first just a few guys, then more and more people as the game went on. We were all about to witness one of the greatest basketball games I’ve ever seen. Unfortunately I had already had quite a few beers, so I don’t remember every little detail as I usually do during sporting events, but I do remember seeing incredible performances, a great comeback, feeling tremendous excitement and feeling that we were watching greatness.

I was one of maybe 4 or 5 people in the group of 20-30 rooting for the Heat to pull it off. I am not a natural Heat fan. I didn’t root for them to make the super team. I was not a fan of the Heat before the big three. I was born and raised in Northern California and my allegiances lie with the natural teams, the 49ers, Giants and Kings. If the Kings were playing the Heat in the Finals (laughable I know), then I would whole heartedly be pulling for my team from Sacramento. But they aren’t.

At some point last year, LeBron James took a leap. He improved his game, changing from one of the most talented players ever who was already a top 50 great, to a candidate for the most talented players ever to a surefire top 10 player ever. This is when I started becoming a Heat fan.

It’s not that I am a front runner. I don’t like the Yankees, can’t stand the Lakers despite living in Southern California for the past 8 years and don’t particularly like the Patriots, except Tom Brady, which plays into this whole thing.

The reason I want LeBron and the Heat to win, is because I want to experience true greatness. I think he has the potential to be the greatest player ever to play basketball. Popular opinion and stats, including many advanced stats have Michael Jordan as the greatest player ever, and I 100% agree with this right now. (Although one guy I was standing next to watching the game with the other night said Jordan was the best because he had “that look in his eye…” I’m not buying that reason for Jordan being the greatest.)

I was born in 1985. I barely remember Jordan’s first decade of basketball. In fact, the first game I can still remember watching of Jordan is when he came back to the NBA after baseball and was still wearing number 45. I do remember his last 3 peat, when he truly was the best player in the world, dominating offensively and defensively like no guard had ever done before. I’ve seen the highlights, watched some games on ESPN classic and read all about his triumphs. But I didn’t witness it, at least not the whole journey from star at UNC to the incredibly explosive player who dropped 63 in Boston during the playoffs biggest star in the world and winner of 6 championships. I only saw the final 3 championships and the shell of the player in Washington.

Like the Nike shirts, I want to Witness the greatest player of all time, from start to finish. I want to be 65 years old, look back and say, I got to see the greatest player of all time play; from the first time I saw him play on TV in high school dueling with a string bean named Aaron Afflalo, to his first ever NBA game in Sacramento, which I attended, through his decade of dominance through game 6 of these NBA Finals and another 7+ years of dominance I foresee. I want to remember it, all the details, the amazing chase down blocks, dagger threes and monster dunks.

This is why I’m rooting for LeBron James and the Heat tonight in Game 7. It is why I will be rooting for them next year too, or for LeBron wherever he plays. As long as he has a chance to be the greatest player of all time, I will be rooting for him to accomplish that. And since he still plays for the Heat, I want them to win their second consecutive title.

2 thoughts on “Why I am Rooting for LeBron & the Heat

  1. Dawn @ WithaSideofThriftiness

    As hailing from the CLE area, I am not one of the many King James “haters”. Yes, the way he left the city was over the top. But, I am happy for him and the decisions he has made. He set his goals and he has met them, he has that ring. But remembering back, he has always been an amazing bball player. One of the most memorable games I attended of King James, was during a high school tourney where he donned a SVSM jersey. A-M-A-Z-I-N-G! His skills went above and beyond any player in the entire tournament. Even though he had already started perfecting his diva-ish-ness (by demanding the trainer cut his nails, yes this is true!)… I will always be a King James fan :) Long live King James!

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  2. Abe

    I could not agree more Mr. Stauss. The reason why I believe Lebron is on his way to Greatness and is considered the chosen one, is mainly due to his ability to dominate. Not just on offense, but on defense as well and the icing on the cake is that he can dominate positions 1-5. To be considered GREAT, you must differentiate yourself from the rest of the pack. I believe Lebron has done this now and will only expand upon this as years go on. I’m not a Heat fan but am a part of the select few that truly believes, as you said, “watching greatness”. In conclusion, I could not agree more with your opinions on Lebron v. Jordan. I’m sure there are plenty of stats to show either argument (anyone willing to dig hard enough will find what they are looking for). However, there is an untold, unexplainable and unmeasurable variable that stats can not show, which is our emotional investment in sports, in this case NBA basketball. Just like you, I did not get to see Jordan’s career START to Finish and can only go off of classic games, stats and you tube clips (and I love me some youtube). Leading me to my final point, I firmly believe that the Lebron v. Jordan is not about whose truly better but more so who did I grow up watching and who got me emotionally invested. It’s simply an ERA thing. Years from now, future generations will not talk about Jordan nor look at him the same way as the present or past. I mean when’s the last time any of us talked about Bill Russell?

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