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The Great Bill Russell via

Find a map that shows Miami Heat fans. It looks like one spot in Florida like the Heat.

The rest of the nation pulls for San Antonio. Why?

Could be everyone hates on LeBron. Or Miami. Or The Decision.

For one group of fans, it’s none of the above.

Older fans don’t want to hear about another dynasty, another three-peat, another star in the galaxy.

But why? Why can’t we all just enjoy the teams and times we live in?

Throughout the Sixties, basketball meant two teams. UCLA ruled the college hardwood, the Boston Celtics ran the table in the money game.

Those with vivid memories of those years don’t want to hear how the Bruins and Celtics would stack up against today’s teams.

UCLA coach John Wooden won ten national titles in twelve years. That’s the right answer to any competition question. The one and done college players today who only attend college because they have to if they want to be drafted.

Teams that win back to back titles, like Florida, have players stick around after the first one. UCLA did more than back to back. They won seven in a row. That’s winning, reloading, and winning, and reloading.

Go ahead and credit Coach Wooden for building the vacuum that pulled in great players from across the country and getting them to play the game his way.

What was his way? Whatever it was, he’s one of the few in the college basketball hall of fame as both player and coach.

Any college team that racks up two titles and heads for a third is automatically on the black list. No one wants a new dynasty when the old one still has legs. A team with a chance of winning eight in row would make some fans explode.

If you saw the Heat vs Spurs Game #3, you saw a different kind of explosion. The Miami bandwagon broke down about five minutes before the game ended. Must have been a blown engine that caused so many to hit the streets before the miraculous comeback.

They forgot who was leading their team. The Chosen One, King James himself, was still on the floor. Earlier in the game he did the Ali Shuffle while dribbling between his legs seven times. It was an incredible act of athleticism that resulted in two points. He got ten style points at my place.

That no comeback appeared is cause for LeBron haters to hate even more while he tries to will his team toward their own three-peat. Three NBA titles are the gold standard since no one will ever touch the Boston Celtics’ eleven championships in thirteen years, with eight in a row.

Three rings are an incredible feat. Three rings echo of Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant, the king and the man who would be king. Fans of a certain age don’t need another king, especially one whose shiny crown dulls next to the Celtics.

We don’t need another genius crowding Boston’s Red Auerbach, or Phil Jackson. Save the wonder boy in Miami from having to answer dynasty questions. If it were San Antonio gunning for their third in a row, you could save any question for Coach Popp, too. He wouldn’t answer.

Sports dynasties come and go. The Dallas Cowboys won three Super Bowls in four years; the New England Patriots did the same. While not UCLA or Celtic caliber, and not good enough to wrench the name Title Town from the Green Bay Packers, they did show the limits of greatness in modern times.

Considering the bile directed at LeBron and Miami, would it be any different if a town like Portland and our Trail Blazers went on a similar tear? Would the rest of the nation root for the other team, leaving only Oregon to side with the Blazers? If LeBron came here with Carmello Anthony, and started their mini-dynasty, the local bandwagon would fill up fast.

What we learned watching Miami fans jump ship is the fickle nature of success. With real dynasties, add the Yankees to the list, fans cheer for familiar names year after year. Teams created by manipulated opportunities don’t garner the same love.

LeBron came to Miami to win not one, not two, not three, not four, not five, not…he didn’t get to eleven, didn’t promise eight in a row. Win games and titles and you can call yourself anything you want and seal it with a big tat. Lose in the finals and watch the fan base hit the parking lot early.

Lose while the hall of fame players on the other side watch from the bench and the role becomes apparent. LeBron is loved if he wins. If he doesn’t win, then he’s just another loser for that night, and there’s no reason to stick around.

It hurt watching the fans leave on television. It must have grinded the guts of Heat players when they lost their fans too soon. That’s how it is in mercenary moments.

(first posted on Oregon Sports News.)

About David Gillaspie
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