“I’m taking my talents to South Beach.”
That infamous sentence uttered by LeBron James to announcer Jim Gray on “The Decision,” forever changed the fate of the Miami Heat.
Miami won the lottery that was the 2010 free agent class in arguably the most anticipated summer in NBA history, forming a “big three” of James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh whose talents would vault the team into the NBA elite.
As long as the trio stayed healthy, the Heat were all but guaranteed to compete for a championship. However, despite having two of the top five players in the league and showcasing some of the most athletic plays the NBA has ever seen, Miami has unquestionably become America’s most hated team.
Here are a few reasons why the vast majority of Americans were rooting for the Oklahoma City Thunder to take home the NBA championship:
1. “The Big Three” Colluded:
America hates cheaters, especially if those cheaters are celebrities making over $15 million per year. There has been speculation that James, Bosh, and Wade had discussed playing together during the 2008 Olympics in Beijing.
To compound the problem, many suspected that the Heat president Pat Riley had spoken to Bosh and James before they officially became free agents. Although nothing has been proven, the rumors have fueled anger towards the superstars of South Beach.
2. “The Decision”:
The spectacle that was ESPN’s “The Decision” program has caused endless drama since the moment LeBron’s interview began. For those 30 minutes, the pulse of the world stopped to watch LeBron prove that he is the most polarizing sports figure in the world.
Critics, fans, and the media called it selfish, conceited, and irresponsible of LeBron to hold a one-hour, nationally televised to tell the world where he wants to play basketball. In reality, however, it is the media’s fault for creating the commotion relating to the free agent class of 2010.
It was the media who peppered Lebron with questions about his future from the moment he became King James. Reporters and analysts gave LeBron the ability to make such a spectacle. He just took advantage of the opportunity. (Everyone also seems to forget he raised over three million dollars in the process.)
This applies primarily to fans of the Cavaliers, Knicks, Nets, Clippers, and the other teams who mortgaged their future for a chance at signing LeBron in the summer of 2010.
Every team who wasn’t in immediate contention for a championship did whatever they could to clear up the salary cap space for a chance to lure King James. It only makes sense that fans of those teams would despise LeBron and the Heat.
The Heat play with so much confidence that, at times, it seems like they are more concerned with how they look than winning the game at hand. There is nothing Americans hate more than cocky athletes who think they are too good to play the game the right way.
5. LeBron James:
Why? Because he is the best basketball player in the world, and he knows it. Everyone loves to hate the best.