Cut From The Same Cloth: The Warriors and The Big 3 Follow Similar Footsteps
As the dust settled from what felt like an improbable decision, Miami was left stunned, hurt, betrayed and confused. The greatest show ever played at the AmericanAirlines Arena ended just as abruptly as it started.
On the whim of a man who sought youth and power, left Miami an infertile team – where the land was getting old and nothing of substance could grow. It was once not only the mecca of the basketball world, but also the focus of attention by the worldwide leader in sports.
So, what comes to the shores of Biscayne Bay on Wednesday feels like a reincarnation of the past and what Miami lost. A team revolutionizing the game one step further than the Heat did, breaking the limits of what offensive basketball could look like, and akin to what took place during those four glorious years.
The Warriors like the Heat have captured America’s sports imagination, but it’s important to juxtapose the two. America flocks to Warriors’ games to see if they will lose while inversely they tuned into “The Big 3” Heat to watch them lose. It’s an important distinction to make, one has caught America’s intrigue while the other was scrutinized repeatedly.
Given that, we go back to this “bought not built” notion that constantly polluted the narrative on the Miami Heat. LeBron James shifted the power paradigm by taking the NBA for a joyride. The Heat dominated the league in a special way, not because they were crushing other teams, but because of the way they were doing it. Full-court passes, flying death machine lineups and a 27-game winning streak.
They were murdering the conventional sports wisdom of “home grown” and the idea of chemistry as they won with pieces that did not fit. They won to the tune of four straight NBA finals and only lost to one of the greatest players ever in Dirk Nowitzki and a generationally elite team in the San Antonio Spurs.
They were sublime as they were unselfish, sacrificing pride, glory and capital in the name of winning – a nobility only seen by those in Miami as the rest of the country scoffed at their greatness and rooted against them for discarding their principles of sports.
The losses echoed as loudly as the winning. Images of Chris Bosh collapsing in sadness and disappointment following a Finals loss to Dallas had the country laughing. No empathy was extended to the losers, just a nation’s unrelenting laughter.
The empathy not given to the Heat was extended to the Cleveland Cavaliers following their loss to the Warriors. The country rushed to defend the honor of their newly beloved James as his two best players were out during the deciding series. Such a courtesy was not given to the Heat when they were down 2-1 against the Indiana Pacers without Chris Bosh. The country just laughed. Tuned in to see their demise.
We all know how the story ends and that brings us to the birth of these Warriors. Doubted from the start as were the Heat due to their lack of size – in Golden State’s case specifically, experience – they were breaking the mold of conventional basketball and shattering the way a nation viewed basketball.
A team composed of unprecedented sharpshooters who were also elite defenders and playmakers transformed the small ball model set by Steve Nash and refined by the 2012 Heat. The Warriors played 6’7” Draymond Green at center and began to impact the league in a way that felt all too similar to Miami.
Their dominance was met with trepidation and doubt rather than hate. Their mascot was a cuddly Stephen Curry and not a Hester Prynne donning a scarlet red uniform as punishment for basketball adultery.
But as the Warriors continue to win more, so will America’s festering hatred begin to spread. It always does.
When you are on the top of the world, we have to bring you down eventually. The earned arrogance of Draymond Green is off-putting to a society that values sportsmanship more than fun. The celebrations of shots before they go in will start to drive a population of crazy people by how they humiliate your team, forging a new loathing against them.
The Warriors are following in similar footsteps as The Big 3 Heat did. Both teams transcended their sport and are cut from a similar cloth, however different their journeys may be.
And as Miami mourns their self-exiled king, they welcome the new kings of the NBA. They are the biggest draw in the sport. When they come to town it’s a national event and a must watch. It wasn’t too long ago that the Heat were in the very same position. Oh, how fast life comes at you.