There is no crying in basketball.
Well, there is, but we don’t really talk about it. Basketball is an emotional game. Well, it is if you care. So not for Andray Blatche most nights. But if you are invested — as any professional player should be — there will be wild emotional highs (we all remember Michael Jordan hugging the trophy in tears). The flip side of that is devastating emotional lows. For all the talk of keeping an even keel, there are times the game takes an emotional toll.
But players don’t want to be seen that way. They need a swagger. They think of themselves as invincible. They like that image.
What Erik Spoelstra told the media in Miami after the Heat suffered another difficult loss to an elite team shattered that image. They should be down, the Heat blew another big first half lead. They have lost four in a row. They lost a game a lot of people were pointing to as big for this team. They missed another shot at the end of the game.
I can understand some players were crying after a loss. Maybe it’s a little immature, but at least they are invested. At least they care. That matters.
But telling the press? Oh, that was your mistake, Spoelstra. This was a regular season game. Say they were in tears after being eliminated from the playoffs is one thing, but to spill that after a regular season loss is a mistake. You may have been trying to pass along the message that they cared, but that will not be the perception. Tweens crying over not getting Justin Bieber concert tickets will be the perception. Your heat will look soft. Which, on top of playing soft makes them look, well, soft. Like a Nerf ball soft.
And, it keeps the Heat soap opera going.