As a newly-minted part-time south Florida resident, I have decided to take my rooting talents to South Beach and jump on the Miami Heat bandwagon. I will not be announcing this on a nationwide prime-time television special. I’m just posting it on my blog and letting word-of-mouth do the rest. This was not an easy decision as LeBron James’ similar Decision last year engendered so much ill will that the Heat became the pariahs of the NBA everywhere outside a 150 mile radius of Miami and the phrase “taking my talents to South Beach” has taken on connotations with which I would prefer not to be associated. This is why I have chosen to forego the national TV special and take this lower key approach to my announcement.
This has also been a difficult decision because I have been a lifelong New York Knicks fan. We have had a fierce rivalry with the Miami Heat dating back to Coach Pat Riley’s move from the Knicks to the Heat in 1995 followed by several years of epic playoff confrontations in the late nineties between teams led by Patrick Ewing and Alonzo Mourning. I am also very excited about the Knicks’ recent acquisitions of Amar’e Stoudemire and Carmelo Anthony and looking forward to a resurgence after many years in the NBA wilderness. So I will not be abandoning the Knicks as my first love.
Nevertheless, I recently purchased a condo in south Florida where I expect to spend a significant portion of future winters, right in the heart of the basketball season. I will need a local sports fix, so my daughter and I did some reconnaissance in March when we donned our new Heat T-shirts and went to see them play the Lakers (after a spicy buffet dinner at Gloria Estefan’s Bongos Cuban Cafe). The Heat were coming off a five-game losing streak and the Lakers were in the midst of a nine-game winning streak. But in a foreshadowing of what they would later show in the playoffs, LeBron and Dwayne Wade shut down Kobe Bryant in the fourth quarter that night and ended both streaks. They passed the test (with Bongos as a bonus). So I’m adding the Heat to my portfolio of sports teams as my second choice in the NBA and my first adopted team in south Florida.
Fortuitously, the timing of my announcement coincides with the Heat’s ascendancy to the 2011 NBA Finals. I am picking the Miami Heat to beat the Dallas Mavericks in six games with LeBron James as the MVP.