“Shocked and disappointed”, those were the words Miami Heat owner Mickey Arison uttered during the aftermath of the decision part 2. For four years King James ruled Miami and now he is gone, reeled in by the same fan base that burned his jersey four years ago.
This decision is being seen by the media from a different perspective; however, now it’s a homecoming. A 180 degree turn from the perception of his ESPN “The Decision” special four years ago. Although various fan bases would describe that evening in different words, sports media tended to stick to one particular theme, betrayal.
During an interview with James after his announcement, footage of Cleveland fans taunting James by burning his jersey was shown. The footage shown in 2014, however, portrayed a different more jubilant mood in the same town.
Instead of depicting the devastation in Miami after the departure of one of the NBA’s all time greats, the media showed the joy in Cleveland after “The Return of the King”, leaving Heat fans in the dust for the second time in the same afternoon. Instead of reminiscing on the greatness that was Miami’s “Big 3” they looked to Cleveland’s future as brighter days. Further proving the notion that Miami’s team of superstars was not truly accepted by those basketball purists who believe the players should not have united in the first place.
In the summer of 2012, the much revered Boston Celtics Big 3 split up due to the departure of shooting guard Ray Allen to the Miami Heat. In that moment, a feeling of nostalgia spread throughout the league as three of the most beloved teammates in the NBA parted ways. Their accomplishments– only half of what Miami’s Big 3 accomplished over their four years together– one NBA championship on two finals appearances. So this begs the question: Why is it that the Heat’s Big 3’s impact on the NBA is so often disregarded? Many people point to the way they came together: free agency.
It has become a common belief among analysts and fans alike that “right” way to put a team together is through the draft or trades not through free agency. They look at the way franchises like the San Antonio Spurs and the Boston Celtics shaped their teams, and believe that is the way it should be done. In reality, it’s not how a roster is put together that matters most, it’s the season’s end result that determines your place in history.
Unfortunately for Miami, sports media plays a large part in what is remembered about past teams. This means that if the media keeps disrespecting the Heat’s Big 3 by brushing their accomplishments to the side as if they never happened, these teams will not be remembered for what they truly are– A dynasty.