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Dwayne Wade Turned Me into a Heat Fan

The Miami Heat should be America's team

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The Spectrum

An interesting question was posed to me recently, how could I root for the Heat?

My initial response was to list the reasons why I like Miami – which are all valid and I will talk about those in a minute. But instead I came up with another question, a sort of rebuttal: How can anyone not root for the Heat?

So let's take out people that actually have a hometown team. I don't expect lifelong Celtics fans to go out and buy a LeBron James jersey. But for the rest of us – NBA fans without an actual favorite team to call our own – the Heat are a fine team to call your own.

Let's start with "The King" himself, LeBron James. Are you still bent out of shape because he left the city of Cleveland high and dry?

Too bad.

With the divorce rate as high as it is in the U.S., you'd think people would be used to public breakups. We just witnessed the most embarrassing divorce in history when Kim Kardashian kicked Nets forward Kris Humphries to the curb. Compared to that debacle, James' exit from Cleveland seems so much less, jolting. Doesn't it?

If not, get over it. If you spent as much time looking into how much good LeBron does for kids and young people across the country, you'd be hard-pressed to go on disliking him so vehemently. He's never broken the law and is said to be a great father to his two sons.

Another thing about LeBron, he's the best player in the NBA. I don't care what you think about him personally, nobody has the skills he possesses or is able to do the things he can on the court. Fans should at the very least appreciate the fact the league has such a talent.

I've never seen a superstar player treated as poorly as Sidney Crosby. People hate the dude. I don't ever hear anyone – especially in Buffalo – discussing what a treat it is to witness his greatness. No, all anybody wants to do is talk about how much they think he is overrated or that he's injury-prone.

Give me a break.

News flash: It is beneficial to have superstars in the sport you like. What would hockey be without Wayne Gretzky or what would basketball be without Michael Jordan. Those two icons are revered.

James and Crosby are treated like villains. I don't understand this phenomenon. They'll never be Jordan and Gretzky, but they could be great in their own way. Isn't that worth watching, and maybe even enjoying?

The next reason to like the Heat is the newest member of the squad, Shane Battier. The epitome of class and work ethic, Battier brings another dimension to the Heat on the floor and off it. He has always been one of the gentlemen of the NBA, and the way he gives everything he has on a nightly basis has always endeared him to fans.

What's not to like about Udonis Haslem. The guy is an old school baller. He bangs down low with the best every night, and always seems to make the plays that don't necessarily show up on the stat sheet.

Norris Cole is only two games into his NBA career and he already has positioned himself for a possible run at rookie of the year. He was the 28th pick in last June's draft but he is playing like a lottery sensation.

Cole is a true underdog story coming out of mid-major Cleveland State. He's averaging 13.5 points and two steals per game, and on Tuesday night he electrified American Airlines Arena. He scored 20 points, received "M-V-P" chants, and was clutch down the stretch, hitting shot after shot in each big moment as the Celtics tried to come back and steal a win.

Those are a few reasons why I think it's perfectly acceptable to root for the Heat, but let me tell you why I like Miami.

Two words: Dwyane Wade.

It was 2003 when Wade became one of my favorite players. It was before he won an NBA championship, was named NBA Finals MVP, helped Team USA recapture gold, almost reach the Eastern Conference Finals in his rookie season with big shot after big shot, and before he won the scoring title in 2009.

I fell in love with D-Wade's game when he played at Marquette. I never quite saw a guy play basketball like him. He was so quick, but what really amazed me was his allusiveness. Nobody could guard Wade and he was spectacular in the tournament in 2003.

Wade almost singlehandedly brought the Golden Eagles to the Final Four for the first time since 1977. He was special. Did I mention that Wade has been named to the NBA All-Defense second team three times?

So to wrap up this tirade, it's OK to be a Heat fan. They're fun to watch, have some of the best players in the world, and any team that can shut Kevin Garnett up can count me as a fan.

Email: matthew.parrino@ubspectrum.com



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