Ricky Bobby said it best with his motto of “if you’re not first, you’re last,” and it couldn’t be more true than in the case of the Miami Heat.
When LeBron James decided to shock the sports world, and take his talents to South Beach, with the claim that the trio of him, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh would win “not two, not three, not four…” championships, expectedly, we thought he’d made good on the promise. Naturally, sports analysts stood by the declaration, with it being culminated by Jeff Van Gundy stating that the Heat would go undefeated.
Interestingly, the Heat lost the first game of the 2010-11 regular season, dispelling the undefeated claim. Unwavered, LeBron snapped back logging the second best record in the Eastern Conference, and powered their way to a Finals berth. Once there, they met a Dallas Mavericks squad that they had knocked off back in 2006, but they didn’t reach this same outcome as they lost in 6 games.
Remember that “not two, not three..” statement? Well LeBron, how about you win one, first? Let’s not get ahead of ourselves.
The 2011-12 NBA season started with a fizzle as the start was postponed due to a lockout. Despite a shortened season of 66 games, the Miami Heat once again finished with the second best record in the Eastern Conference. This time, bent on winning a championship, LeBron and the other guys in the Miami Heat “Big Three”, led the team back to the Finals for the second consecutive year, winning in 5 games against the Oklahoma City Thunder. With a ring finally on his finger after three tries, LeBron was somewhat off the hook.
Now their third season together is in the books, and they’ve trudged through the playoffs, making it to the Finals once again after facing elimination against the Indiana Pacers. Battling it out in seven games and showing some glaring weakness going up against the Pacers’ squad, the Heat didn’t necessarily look like a championship team, seeing as they were set to take on a San Antonio Spurs squad that had only lost 2 games throughout the playoffs. Which brings us back to the topic of this story: what is on the line for these Miami Heat?
Going into this season, many questions arose about the future of the Miami Heat should certain events take place. With each of their contracts expiring at the end of the 2013-14 season and Dwyane Wade’s knees slowly deteriorating, quite a bit is riding on the Heat’s ability to win and win now. There have been rumors that LeBron may take his talents back to Cleveland seeing as they’ve quite quickly put together a cast of young stars in the making, and finally bring a championship to Cleveland. While that would be quite the fairy tale ending, it’s very likely that LeBron will exercise his player-option to leave the Heat for greener pastures.
If the “Big Three” can’t win now, their window to win will only continue to close, so it’s possible that the best days of the Miami Heat are already behind them.