Last weekend, movie announcement Space Jam: A New Legacy was released. LeBron James stars in the sequel to the original Space Jam from 1995
While most were preoccupied with watching the long-awaited film itself, Miami Heat fans quickly fixed themselves on one particular scene in an announcement that caught their eye: an obvious homage to the cult image of Dwyane Wade celebrating with outstretched arms as LeBron James soared into the air dragging a passage for the alley behind him.
Most Heat fans have accepted the inclusion of the cult “Big Three” a moment in the film as a compliment. The others? Not so much. They found it hypocritical that a team that everyone outside of Miami loved so much during his reign as the best team in the NBA league is now portrayed in such a dazzling way.
I hate when this dunk is appropriated. When that happened, everyone hated that Heat team and smashed them every opportunity.
This cannot now be the public property that everyone loves. It’s so incredibly boring https://t.co/t63YX6A4u1
– Kyle Lowry Lifer (@ gnavas103) April 3, 2021
Many heat enthusiasts see the recent narrative change as a revisionist history, and that’s not all. If you hated us then, don’t love us now.
So why has the narrative of these “Big Three” hot teams changed from 2010 to 2014 in recent years? We have some assumptions.
“Superteams” are normalized. Before LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh shocked the world by teaming up at the Miami Heat in the summer of 2010, a super-team made up of players wasn’t really a thing. If the team was full of stars, it usually took place through great commissions or shops. That is the norm. Literally, that’s the only way. Luckily you didn’t follow Heat’s 2010-2014 model of bringing players to team up for the ring.
From Kevin Durant and the Golden State Warriors team to Kevin Durant and the current Brooklyn Nets team, he is no longer hated when players decide their own destiny.
Public opinion about LeBron James has improved since he left Miami. When LeBron joined the Miami Heat, he suffered a blow for running away from his home team in the name of chasing the ring. After winning two titles in Miami, he returned to Cleveland, won the Cavs title, and has since done so in Los Angeles. It is basically a food truck, which shares titles in any city it decides to stop at.
LeBron went home and did well in Cleveland, which took down a lot of his haters. He then won the title for the Lakers after the death of Kobe Bryant. It’s easy to love him now. Times have changed since he was hated for joining the Heat.
Dwyane Wade is no longer a threat. Many players become more loved when they retire. It’s easy to hate a person you don’t know when you’re constantly standing in the way of the success of your favorite basketball team.
Dwyane Wade no longer serves buckets to other teams throughout the season, nor does he recruit away stars from their current teams. He’s just a nice guy who shows up on TV sometimes, drinks a lot of wine on Instagram and seems to be the best dad ever. To continue to hate him in 2021 makes no sense.
He is the best. Even New York Knicks fans can figure it out now that their team’s punishment has ended.
Chris Bosh medically retired. Like Wade, Chris Bosh no longer bothers his opponents’ asses, so their fans can appreciate how outstanding he is off the field. Bosh was forced to withdraw from the NBA league because of blood clots that would endanger his life on the field. Retirement was abrupt and created national news.
Bosh is no longer a punching bag for internet trolls, but a thoughtful analyst / renaissance man that any healthy person can appreciate. Now everyone sees why heat fans call him “Boshy Bear”. You couldn’t hate this man even if you tried.
Miami did it the right way. When Miami formed the “Big Three,” people got very angry. They did not think it was right for players to use the free agency period in a way that others had never used before. The fans were so used to the teams disembarking one big free agent that it seemed unfair and against the rules when Miami got three at once.
By comparison, what Heat did seems like the “right way” to form a team. Players are forced to the teams they want to play for, right after they have signed records. They hold their teams hostage and force them to get pennies of dollars in exchange because everyone knows they want to play for one particular team.
Heat was ridiculed for being “bought” rather than “built” in 2010. What does it look like now? Not so bad anymore.
Miami wished LeBron James well when he left, unlike Cleveland. Was Miami Heat president Pat Riley furious when LeBron left Miami for Cleveland in 2014? Yes. Did he let him know he was angry? Almost immediately. Did he write crazy letter in Comic Sans to I felt extremely racist, as Cavs owner Dan Gilbert did when LeBron left Cleveland in 2010? It’s not even close.
Miami showed class when LeBron left and wished him well. People noticed that. Cleveland, like sport the city, will forever be tarnished by the way he has acted in connection with the departure and return of LeBron.
Erik Spoelstra has gained a lot of respect since then. Back in 2010, Heat coach Erik Spoelstru was thought to be like a child being handed Ferrari keys. Many thought Pat Riley should step down from the role of president and coach of a team that was then expected to be one of the greatest in NBA league history.
Since then we have all learned a lot about who Spoelstra is. Turns out he was good enough to coach those teams and any other team in NBA league history. He is the coach of the Hall of Fame the day he becomes eligible.
Respect has a way to reduce hatred. Spo now has incredible respect for the entire league.
The “Big Three” ended with a lost note. Everyone outside of Miami wanted Heat to lose every time he stepped on the field. People have been disappointed many times. The Heat won a lot from 2010 to 2014. But the ride ended in the 2014 NBA Finals with a complete shot in the hands of the San Antonio Spurs.
People got their fix. They saw Heat lose. They saw the team fall apart after that. After that, there was nothing left to hate, and the haters left satisfied.
Toronto and Cleveland have since won titles. Chris Bosh left Toronto and LeBron James left Cleveland for Miami in 2010. At the time, both cities were ringless wonders with a past of defeat. Since 2014, the Raptors and Cavaliers have won every title. The salt was washed from the wounds and everything was well done.
If Toronto and Cleveland had been losers for years since the Heat stole their stars, people might feel different. But both have turned out well since 2010.
Miami has since played the role of an understater. NBA fans have a memory of goldfish. Whatever happened today is the best thing that has ever happened, and what happened ten years ago is old news. Since the “Big Three” was formed more than a decade ago, Heat is now more remembered for being the underdog of the 2020 NBA Finals. against LeBron than as a franchise that dominated the NBA with LeBron.
Everyone loves an underdog, and Miami has been just that since LeBron left. It’s easy to forget that the Heat used to be a hated favorite.
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