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For Miami Heat Fans: Five Steps to Stop Hating LeBron James
Photo by George Martinez

For Miami Heat Fans: Five Steps to Stop Hating LeBron James

After four straight seasons of watching the Miami Heat play basketball deep into the month of June, it's now been two years in a row of a large majority of Heat fans filling that space with rooting against LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers in the NBA Finals. The latter is admittedly decidedly less fun than the former. This is no way to live. It's much more enjoyable to root for something than against something. It's time for a change.

How, you might be asking, can Miami Heat fans who loathe LeBron James replace the hatred in their black-and-red hearts with nothing but Valentine's Day-colored love and happiness? We've installed a five-step program to letting go. It won't be the easiest thing you've ever done, but just like quitting cigarettes — it will be good for your health in the long run. 

For Miami Heat Fans: Five Steps to Stop Hating LeBron James
Photo by Alex Broadwell

1. Don't be sad it's over; be happy it happened.

It might sound cheesy, but it's what you need to do to progress in recovery. The first step to finally setting yourself completely free of LeBron James cares is realizing and reminding yourself that the four straight NBA Finals the Miami Heat went to during LeBron's tenure in Miami was definitely not the norm. The farther people get away from that era of Miami Heat basketball, the more they will appreciate it. Seeing players team up to create a massive, unstoppable superteam was frowned upon back then, but now it's practically written in textbooks that it's the only way your franchise can compete. 

Nothing that happens in Cleveland, or anywhere else, will ever erase the fact that the Miami Heat's Big 3 wrote the playbook that other teams now study every off-season.

For Miami Heat Fans: Five Steps to Stop Hating LeBron James
Photo by Alex Broadwell

2. Stop comparing Cleveland LeBron James to Miami LeBron James.

It's a useless exercise. What really is to gain from comparing what LeBron James accomplishes in Cleveland to what he was able to accomplish in Miami? Nothing, that's what. It's essentially the same as comparing LeBron James to Michael Jordan; there will never be a consensus opinion about who is better, so why even care what the pundits say? 

Miami will forever have received LeBron James' prime years in a neat little package. Cleveland will have forever drafted and groomed LeBron in his dominant early years. What happens now and in the future really has no bearing on what happened in Miami from 2010-2014. Within a four-year span, the Heat won two titles and twice held a parade down beautiful Biscayne Boulevard; hats off to Cleveland if they can top that. 

For Miami Heat Fans: Five Steps to Stop Hating LeBron James
Photo by Alex Broadwell

3. Come to terms with the fact that LeBron James is never coming back to Miami.

Let it go; LeBron James is never, ever coming back to Miami. Even in some wonderland scenario, if he did, it would be years from now when Dwyane Wade has more than likely either retired or aged and becomes nowhere near the player that he is now. The trains will have passed each other. Rumors continue to swirl both ways; if LeBron wins a championship for Cleveland he could come back to Miami, but on the other hand, if he doesn't, he could come back to Miami! 

No. He's not. Ever. The faster some of us accept that, the quicker we can move on to more important matters much more worthy of our time and energy. Rooting for or against LeBron in hopes it creates a scenario that results in his return to Miami is some clingy ex-girlfriend level stuff.

For Miami Heat Fans: Five Steps to Stop Hating LeBron James
Photo by Alex Broadwell

4. Like the Miami Heat, realize that your reputation is more important than any one player's

Being bitter and spiteful just isn't a good look, and someone is always looking. The Miami Heat has done a fantastic job of molding a first-class reputation based on respect and loyalty; you should strive to do the same. Eventually, another LeBron James will be looking at Miami as a possible free agency destination — maybe even Kevin Durant this summer — and the last thing Heat fans want to do is give off a less-than-ideal look.

Fans are down the list of reasons a player, coach, or any employee might come to the Miami Heat, but in the end, the reputation of many can be tarnished by the actions of a few (think 50 Miami Heat fans trying to get back into the American Airlines Arena after Ray Allen's shot in Game 6 of the NBA Finals). Do it for you, not him. 

For Miami Heat Fans: Five Steps to Stop Hating LeBron James
Photo by Alex Broadwell

5. Decide you'd rather concentrate on the future, instead of a piece of the past. 

Stop being so selfish; this isn't about you. Miami Heat fans have a bright future, an intriguing present, and an amazing past to be thankful for; don't ruin it by dwelling on what could have been or what wasn't. Rooting against LeBron James amounts to greed; it's complaining we didn't get dessert after an amazing meal. The Heat has lots of cap space, rising stars, and a legend we have no idea how long we will get to enjoy in Dwyane Wade. That's enough to keep us busy. 

If you follow all these steps, you're certain to enjoy Miami Heat basketball more. Hey, you're a Miami Heat fan from South Florida — you ain't got no worries

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