Miami Heat fans are loyal; that much cannot be disputed. Before LeBron James came to Miami in 2010, no one even thought to dispute it. The Heat had progressed perfectly since 1988 from the lovable underdogs to happy-to-be-there contenders all the way to NBA champions in 2006. Fans showed up and literally grew up with their team. They've continued to come out to games at a rate that places the Heat at the top of NBA attendance rankings year in and year out.
But for some reason, everyone ignores the facts.
When LeBron came to Miami, everyone assumed Heat fans were all Johnny-come-latelys. Every joke about a Heat fan jumping on the bandwagon was hilarious. Miami Heat fans, as a whole, have gotten a bad rap since 2010.
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But is this the year that the haters get some more material? Can the Heat continue to sell out American Airlines Arena every night in a post-Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh era? Last year the Heat sold fans on a team that had a very real chance of clashing with Lebron, but this year, between the shock of losing Wade and the hodgepodge roster full of youths and veterans, the Heat may be lacking a draw that will pull in a Tuesday night crowd.
If you're searching to pinpoint what the biggest draw for Heat fans might be this year, the most likely ranking order would be: Hassan Whiteside, Goran Dragic, and Justise Winslow. But this is no superstar-driven team. In the past, it was a win-now team, but a new era is upon us. The Heat is rebuilding. Sometimes this is just as fun as buying a toy already-assembled with a bow attached.
Heat fans have proven in the past that they will show up regardless of the circumstances. It's just yet to be seen what those circumstances will be this year.