Sometimes when you are on inside you don’t get the vision of how the outside world sees you.
That certainly was the case with the Miami Heat, where some of the players seemed taken aback by the vitriol that came their way after LeBron James announced where he was taking his talents. They became the cowboys in the black hats to most of America. (The Heat front office seemed to embrace that role.)
It was weird. I mean, I’d never been booed before! And I felt like we’d done something unselfish, so for fans to think we’d done something bad was indescribable.
From the inside, they can rightly say they did what fans always say they want — the stars took less money for the sake of the team as a whole. And superstar teams have been the cornerstone of basketball forever — what do you think the dominant 1960 Bill Russell Celtics were? Hall of Famers gather together. Always have, always will.
But from the outside it was different. The fact that the players controlled the process and teams had to come to them — that labor had and used the power, not management — seemed to really disturb some people.
But mostly it was the hubris — LeBron’s ill-conceived “Decision” show followed by the televised pep rally with its promise of “not one, not two, not three…” championships. All the way to seven. Combine all of it together and it was easy to hate the Heat.
The tide is turning a little there — the Heat aren’t the good guys outside of Miami, but the level of hatred toward them subsided, particularly after a title. We as a nation forgive winners (whether they deserve it or not).
But from the outside, it wasn’t hard to see what Wade couldn’t understand from the inside.