clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Miami got its Heat back, along with renewed optimism for the future

New, comments

Things appear brighter now than if ‘The Decision 2' had gone Miami's way. Here's why.

Steve Mitchell-US PRESSWIRE

The mood in Miami has changed. Optimism, excitement, pride, resilience and defiance are dominating the emotional narrative across South Florida.

If you had shut yourself off from the outside world for the last two weeks - and heaven knows it has been tempting at times - you would assume such positive feelings could be associated with just one thing; LeBron James re-signing with the Miami Heat.

But it isn't. And he didn't.

As a sports fan, there have been few sinking feelings quite like that Sports Illustrated ‘essay' landing in my Twitter feed last Friday. Like most of you I felt crushed - heartbroken I'd never see James in a Heat jersey again.

But then something unexpected happened. Within hours there was renewed hope. Seemingly every hour since has brought another reason to be cheerful. In fact, it can be argued that the mood is more optimistic now than it would have been had the King remained on his South Beach throne. Here's why.

Once the initial euphoria and the accompanying cacophony of pots and pans had dulled, it really wouldn't taken very long for everything to return to that post-Finals status quo. You've probably heard it all before.

"There's no financial flexibility to get him the help he needs"

"Short term deal? He'll leave next year anyway"

"The East is still terrible, but this team can't beat the Spurs"

"Danny Granger and Josh McRoberts? Really? Is that it?"

"Dwyane Wade's finished, he can't hack it anymore."

"When will Chris Bosh step up?"

I haven't heard any of that this week.

I don't know about you guys, but when Bosh recommitted on Friday afternoon, I strutted around punching the air repeating the words "Chris ‘effin' Bosh!" for about an hour. It was a quick pick-me-up of Bloody Mary proportions, washing away what would have been an ugly Hangover from four years chugging Double LeBron and Cokes.

The Bosh Instagram snap with the Heat ballcap and Championship ring that followed? Forget about it. New #1 jersey ordered. Now, instead of the talk of Bosh's diminished impact in a Big Three, there's excitement over his potential as the leading light.

And what else can be said about ‘Mr Miami' Dwyane Wade? "My Home. My City. My House" was a rallying for the ages. Suddenly, no one talking about his knees, they're talking about how lucky they are to have him.

Udonis Haslem? There's massive gratitude once again. Mario Chalmers? A feeling that things could and will should better now LeBron is no longer berating him at every turn. Bird? It's good to have you back, man. People are looking at the potential upside of those McRoberts and Granger acquisitions too.

There's also pride in the stirring reaction of Pat Riley and the Heat organisation since last Friday. Instead of sitting in the corner punch-drunk, unwilling to leave the corner, Riley simply spat out the blood and came out swinging like a grey, gnarled, slicked-back Rocky Balboa. That spirit has reverberated around the organisation and the fanbase. With Riley lacing up his gloves, there's a believe Miami will always go that one more round.

The Heat organization could have easily pulled a Boston Celtics and curled up into a trembling, weeping mass of green. Many expected it to happen. It didn't happen. Instead Riley locked that chiseled jaw and set about luring Luol Deng and pretty much everyone else before the weekend was over.

From staring into the abyss of irrelevancy, one week ago, Miami isn't just clinging to the faint hope of "remaining competitive", there's belief the Heat can still go toe-to-toe with Chicago, Cleveland, Washington, Indiana and anyone else in the East who thinks they can wrest away the crown.

For the first time since the 2011 Finals, there's a thirst among the fanbase to prove everyone wrong and to throw it back in the faces of those outsiders hoping the empire will completely crumble.

Personally speaking, this is a way more enticing and exciting prospect than idly expecting a fifth straight trip to the Finals. The hope Miami could defy the odds, exceeds the fear of failure that comes with expecting triumph.

While we're unlikely to see anything like the Big 3 era again, it still feels like a good time to be a Miami Heat fan. Few would have predicted that a week ago.

Thanks for everything, LeBron, but the Heat Nation is ready to move on without you. Actually, we're kinda looking forward to it. Let's Go Heat!