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How a LeBron Hater Learned to Stop Loathing the Miami Heat

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Let's get one thing clear: I'm still angry with LeBron James. I think he's arrogant, immature, and full of an inflated sense of importance that was, ironically, fed by years of hero worship in his hometown of Cleveland. His decision to use a nationally televised ESPN special to snub that hometown and move to Miami was a testament to his glaring ego.

However, I no longer hate the Miami Heat. Now that the rest of America loathes them, they're growing on me. 

Did you see Dwayne Wade last night? Did you see how he and Chris Bosh worked together

so seamlessly to give the Heat a ten-point lead over the Dallas Mavericks with one minute left in the first game of the NBA finals?

Wade is a workhorse. He was here before the LeBron madness, and he's watched his new teammate eclipse him in the headlines. Yet he just chugs along, supporting James and Bosh, making them look good.

Then there's that funny-looking dude, Mike Miller, whose stubbled mustache and tattoos give him a gangly, trailer-trash vibe. Last night, he played hard with an injured shoulder, and you've got to respect that.

The Heat have been trash-talked all over the country, dogged by the New York Times for not attracting fans to fill arena seats, ridiculed by bitter Chicago Bulls fans, blithely ignored by many locals, who can't be bothered to stop drinking mojitos long enough to care about a basketball team. Yet here they are, possibly on their way to winning a championship.

I've always been a sucker for the underdog -- even an underdog that boasts three of the best players in the NBA. When I lived in Cleveland, I rooted for LeBron James and the Cavaliers because, in some ways, they were the best thing that underdog city had going for it.

Now I live in South Florida, hardly a region that needs an ego boost. But the Heat have been so battered that suddenly, they're kind of endearing.


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