Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Fans of Miami Heat, A.K.A. Team John Dillinger, Become a Public Enemy


Heat fan wearing LeBron jersey getting kicked out of Cleveland Indians game

I have lived in Los Angeles for almost five years now and have typically been LA friendly. Even when Miami won the title with Shaq as its center, you had people who liked Miami because Shaq played there. It was almost like Lakers East to some of these fans - the Heat was kind of likable. Wearing my Wade jersey did not draw the ire of the people. Maybe it had to do with the fact that the Lakers were in rebuilding mode.

Now that the Lakers are two time defending champions and three time defending Western conference champs, the waters have changed. I cannot wear my Wade jersey without someone loudly demanding I take my shirt off. I don't take them seriously, but then again, when I laugh it off they always say "I'm serious" as if they are tempted to do it for me.

Why the sudden hate? The Lakers were high in the clouds dreaming about their own dynasty when all the stars aligned in Miami to present them with a real challenge. If not for LeBron's decision, Phil Jackson would be heavily favored to pull off his fourth 3peat and second one in LA. Many are still convinced that nothing will stop Kobe, Pau and Phil from fulfilling that destiny, but a major contender was born overnight and that has caught the attention of Laker nation.

Also, while the Three Kings have yet to hold court, their welcome party was loud enough to get things kick started. First you have the crowd chanting "Beat LA" and then you have LeBron saying things like "I feel sorry for whoever has to guard us" and "not 2, not 3, not 4, not 5, not 6, not 7" in regards to how many titles they are aiming for.

It is only pre-season and my Wade jersey is causing waves from Hollywood to Long Beach. I am a proud fan, but I have to be honest with myself -- last year, a co-worker visited the hospital every day to visit a friend that laid in a coma after being assaulted by a group of Mexican gang members in Laker jerseys following a game in what was reported as a random act of violence. I like representing "Team John Dillinger", a term coined by LeBron James via Twitter, but do I really want the target on my back? Nah, by the time the Finals roll around I will have my LeBron high school "Irish" jersey, D-Wade's Marquette uni and Bosh's Georgia Tech gear ready to go. I may get a mean glare or two, but the people that worry me probably couldn't put two and two together.

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