We interrupt our regularly scheduled hockey column for some thoughts on pro basketball. I know, crazy isn't it? The fancy Miami Heat have made it to the 3rd round of the NBA Playoffs and record ratings are being reported for their Game 1 loss in Chicago. I looked in on that game and have done the same at other points during then playoffs. There is a curiosity, even for an admitted very casual basketball fan, in seeing what the Heat can accomplish. I have not stayed with it and am just now starting to realize why.
Generally speaking, I like to watch great players be great. Lebron James joining superstar Dwayne Wade and star Chris Bosh has left such a bad taste in my mouth that the only thing left to do is root against him. I can't really enjoy watching sports like this, rooting for the best players to fail. I thought maybe when the three stars got together in Miami that it would get me to watch more basketball. It hasn't worked out that way. I thought my wanting to see them lose would get me there but instead, wanting them to lose has left me interested only in the result. If James had stayed in Cleveland I would still be rooting for him and the Cavaliers to win. When James scored 48 in the Conference Finals against Detroit in 2007 I was captivated and really looking forward to watching the next star in the NBA do what so many had done before him. Grow with his team into a champion. Instead, what we ended up with was a couple more playoff appearances and then "I'm taking my talents to South Beach."
Surely this is working for lots of fans as the ratings indicate. My failing to really plug into this likely has as much to with there being other things on that I want to watch more. Sunday that would have been Red Sox /Yankees and Sharks/Canucks. I probably don't like basketball enough. I do still like it as much as I have at any point in the last decade. I just feel pretty much like a jerk tuning in to see if James and his teammates fail. Rooting against teams that I and my favorite teams have a history with is one thing. Rooting against one star player because of a noxious departure takes a little more work.
This is not a final ruling on all of this. There is still plenty more basketball to be played. Game 2 for the Heat and Bulls is tomorrow night. Maybe Derrick Rose will win me over and I'll have someone to root for, not just root against.