It doesn't matter whether you love the Miami Heat or hate them. You watch them. They are the team in professional sports at least in this country to talk the most about. People still call the Yankees the Evil Empire. They re not they don t generate the emotion they used to one way or another even when they're going good the way they are now. The Heat are the Yankees now.
LeBron James is the biggest star we have in sports and the Heat are the star team more than the Yankees or any other baseball team more than the Lakers and Celtics more than any team in pro football.
They give off the most heat in all ways.
Michael and the Bulls were the headliners once and then Torre s Yankees and then it was Tiger Woods. As great as Tom Brady s Patriots were when they were winning three Super Bowls they were never that kind of team. LeBron and the Heat are until somebody knocks them off the way the Bulls are trying hard to knock them off right now.
Of course they haven t won the way the Yankees have or the Lakers or the Celtics. They might not win this year have a ways to go before they even get to the conference finals. And maybe the Knicks if they can get by the Pacers can clip them in the conference finals telling themselves that if the Bulls can play LeBron and them this tough the Knicks have the talent to play them a whole lot tougher.
But as good as these NBA playoffs have been as much fun as it has been watching Steph Curry and the underdog and undermanned Bulls and Carmelo Anthony the best show in sports remains the Heat. The season is always more interesting when they have a game.
The best NBA season is the one where they keep going. Knick fans don t want to hear that and shouldn t want to hear it they want to win too. It has been four decades since they won it all. They look back at the regular season and remember how they looked against the Heat when the sides were even and have a perfect right to say bring it on.
The Heat are a wonderful flawed totally compelling team. Miami has no real center (even if Chris Bosh had 20 points and 19 rebounds Friday) and no real point guard and still won 66 regular season games 27 of them in a row. Maybe Miami can t make it two titles in a row if Dwyane Wade isn t healthy. Maybe the Bulls have given the Knicks who have more players than the Bulls and who have Carmelo in a year when the Bulls don t have Derrick Rose great confidence that they can get four games off them in the playoffs the way they got three during the regular season.
Still On Friday night on the road against a Bulls team going toe to toe with them despite all the players they have lost you saw the athletic character of LeBron James and the athletic character of the team. It had been a bad shooting night for LeBron and then suddenly he stepped back and made a long three pointer. And after Norris Cole a kid having the playoff night of his life on his way to 18 huge points made a three of his own there was LeBron to drive through the whole Bulls team to the basket and get fouled and make the free throw that made it 99 90 for his team and game set match.