Last week’s Game 7 victory for Miami’s “Big Three” marked the second time in its 3-year existence they’ve been handed the Larry O’Brien Trophy. Since the “Decision” and in the wake of one of sports’ more infamous pregame victory parades, Miami’s at least earned the respect they preordained themselves nearly 1,095 days ago. But a week ago, there was nearly no title for the Heat, nearly no MVP for “King James” and nearly no love lost between Miami’s Chris Bosh and the people who pay his salary.
Yes, it’s cliché to play the “fans pay your salary” card and to an extent lazy to use it against the players, but in the case of Game 6 it applies and in the case of Mr. Bosh, it needs to be said.
If you follow the NBA, or even watch from a distance when the games mean the most, you likely witnessed the miraculous resuscitation of a Miami team on its last breath in the final seconds of last Tuesday’s game. If not for a few missed free throws, a couple timely offensive boards, and a desperation heave by one of the league’s withering ex-superstars, Tony Parker, the San Antonio Spurs would likely be planning their parade. Because of that, hundreds of Heat fans who fled the arena prior to the aforementioned comeback would’ve proudly spoke of the history they didn’t see (the Spurs celebrating on their court) rather than reality they fought so hard to return for. But the miracle did happen, Miami eventually got their 2nd ring, and Chris Bosh almost immediately strengthened the perception of the disconnect between our “heroes” and the people who invest time and money to watch them play a game.
A ticket affords you few rights as a fan, but what it does afford you is the opportunity to do with it what you will. NBA tickets aren’t cheap, and a Finals ticket couldn’t be further from it. In addition, a beer will cost $10, $6 will get you a soda, and if your appetite dials-up a slice of pizza, nachos, or the fruits of an industrial sausage press, you’re likely into concessions for an Andrew Jackson or more. A couple hundred dollars may not get you a seat on the bench, but it does allow you to cheer for your team, to boo … if so inclined, and even to leave the arena prior to completion if you’d like to beat traffic, get your kids to bed, or simply not witness the opposition inadvertently rubbing your nose in a 5th NBA Title on your home court.
But not according to Chris Bosh. He doesn’t need your support, and he doesn’t appreciate your dollar.
Immediately following Game 6 and likely before the bulk of the Miami fans in attendance reached their driveways last Tuesday night, the third – and weakest – leg of the NBA’s most recent tripod berated the fans who’d left the arena early and suggested they plant their flag on another team’s property. “Make sure you don’t come to Game 7,” Bosh said. “People gave up on us. They can stay where they are and watch the game at home.” Interesting tact Chris, and one I’d have to think your owner would likely discourage.
You see, Chris, when your union was negotiating the last round of your collective bargaining agreement, the money you were fighting over came directly from those fans’ pockets and indirectly from the pockets of people who spend countless hours watching your games on TV. They buy tickets, concessions, and merchandise, in addition to products which companies pay handsomely to sell during timeouts designed to get you rest. Plus, opposed to the money you’re guaranteed in your contract, they’re not guaranteed to get your best effort, or even see you play at all, on a night you’re “just not into it” or your coach decided to give you off. If there’s a smelly end of this stick, it’s not in your hands Mr. Bosh, but rather in the hands of the people who put you on a pedestal, only to have you spit on them from above.
In the last 2 games of the NBA Finals, Chris Bosh scored a total of 10 points and shot a combined 29% from the field. He went scoreless, took merely 5 shots, and got to the free throw line exactly 0 times in the deciding Game 7, and if not for nearly fouling out would’ve been a complete no-show in a game players of his ilk and pay grade are supposed to shine. If anyone’s guilty of leaving early, it appears more and more that it was Chris Bosh prior to Game 6 and 7, rather than the Heat fans after San Antonio appeared to have it wrapped-up near the end last Tuesday night.
Professional athletes largely get a bad rap. For every knucklehead who tarnishes the brand, there are 10 more doing right by their profession, their team, and the communities in which they reside. But you hear little about the good these players bring to the table, and far more about the bad which the loud minority shove to the forefront … and that’s what Chris Bosh did early last week.
I’m not a fan of the Miami Heat. I respect their ability to win and appreciate LeBron’s obvious talent, but their concert shortly following the “Decision” made them easy to hate and behavior like Bosh displayed last week won’t allow me to get over it. You’re no victim Chris. Woe ain’t you. Your team’s a champion, it’s time you start acting like one.