By ROBBIE SHIVER
As almost everyone can’t help but know by now, the Miami Heat had one of the most talked about off-seasons in NBA history. By retaining Dwyane Wade in free agency and signing both Lebron James and Chris Bosh, the Heat turned themselves into instant championship contenders for years to come.
By making the decision to join forces, they also acquired many fans, reporters and casual observers who became very harsh critics of their choices. While the negative opinions from many fans is easy to understand, it is not quite as clear why so many people in the media have decided to write and report negatively about them.
ESPN has an entire section of their website dedicated to the Miami Heat called the “Heat Index,” which is simply described as “your daily Heat check.” While originally this site was geared to track winning percentages and possible records the team set along the way this season, with the recent struggles of the team, the site has turned in to a place where you can find game by game player ratings and even a section called “Can’t Stand the Heat” where ESPN tracks when its own writers write negatively about Miami.
The site also tracks any negative tweets from athletes or other celebrities involving the team. Tom Haberstroh is the ESPN reporter who has most of the articles on the “Heat Index” and he literally treats it as a full time job as if he were a local Miami sports reporter who only focused on basketball.
With the amount of attention the Heat have been receiving ever since The Decision was made by Lebron James, it is easy to see why ESPN has given Miami so much attention. The question is if the attention they have received is fair. For all the negativity the new big three in Miami have received, none have been in trouble off the court, none have been in trouble on the court, they have all been represented our country by playing in the Olympics, and each of them have done outstanding work in the community.
The answer to if it is fair? Well, quite frankly it doesn’t matter. In sports today, athletes must learn to accept that their lives will always be in the spotlight, many times in ways they do not like and for reasons that are not always fair. Dwyane Wade, Lebron James and Chris Bosh all knew, to some degree, the impact of deciding to join forces to try and create a dynasty.
The way the media works today is that everyone has the ability to be a critic. Whether these criticisms come from random people on Twitter, journalists on Internet sites, former NBA stars such as Charles Barkley and Michael Jordan, or even former teammates, the key to the success of the Heat will be their ability to block all of that out and focus on their main goal.
Last week, the Miami Heat traveled to Cleveland to play the Cavaliers in a game that marked Lebron James’s first return back to the team he played for the past seven seasons. James led his new team to a 118-90 victory while scoring 38 points in just three quarters. This was a sign that after early season struggles, the Heat are ready to focus on their main goal, winning championships.