Bulls Complete Season Sweep In Miami, Reduce "Heatles" To Tears
Someday, they'll be a book written or a documentary produced about the Summer of 2010 -- proper noun -- and how it changed the planet. It'll talk about the beginnings of the league's "bro culture", the massive influence of AAU, and how LeBron James effectively held a plugged-in nation hostage, hanging on his every whim. Somewhere, it'll mention the Bulls. After flying high with this team for 61 games, it's easy to forget just how involved, how close they really were to achieving their grandest of dreams. Hell, the mythical World Wide Wes himself even boldly proclaimed its inevitability, and did it convincingly enough to melt minds all over this metropolitan area. The Bulls would have James and Bosh, or Wade and Bosh, and a dynasty would follow.
And then it broke apart: Stephen A. was right all along, and the Bulls "settled" for a mere 20-10 offensive machine with warts and what amounts to scrap heap role players.
Jeff Van Gundy caught a lot of shit in the aftermath of "The Decision" for echoing all of the big three's historic smack talk. LeBron -- with fireworks shooting off behind him, literally and figuratively -- said he came to Miami to win titles, with an s, and that he wasn't stopping at one or two. The Heat existed -- by their own design -- not to compete with the Lakers, the Celtics, the Raptors, and the Rockets, at least not in the present day. No, the Heat were set to challenge "Best of's" in any category, The Beatles, "The Godfather", you name it. It was enough to get me to throw out "Heat vs. 'The Catcher in the Rye'" or "Heat v. Strokes" hypotheticals, and I wasn't joking. Van Gundy's co-sign served as the engraving: I was sold.
I thought the Miami Heat would be world-beaters, and that everyone else would effectively be playing for second so long as Dwyane Wade could bend his knees. It kind of bummed me out.
All of this dawned on me while writing that assuredly widowed headline up top. It's March of 2011, and the Bulls -- the same team that would have renamed the stadium, had LeBron demanded it -- just completed a season sweep of Miami. They have a better record than the Heat, too. The way this is shaping up gets more amazing by the day; I'm still not sure if it's even real.
I'm not talking about the Bulls' success. Their's makes sense: they had a long-term blueprint, followed it, and are now seeing the profits. But let's not fool ourselves into thinking the Bulls are the story here, not yet at least. This is about the Heat, and how the two best superhumans on planet Earth cannot beat a team that proudly starts Keith Bogans. The Heat are a failure; the prophecy was a lie. They can still win the title -- yes, even this year -- but that doesn't change a thing. The Miami Heat have proved, without a single doubt, that they're what we were convinced they'd never be: an ordinary, regular NBA team. It's mesmerizing to watch.
After Luol Deng knocked in the controversial go-ahead free throws that put the Bulls up a point, the skies opened up and shined a light on LeBron James. If only I could have placed a parlor bet on "will LeBron hit the rim"; I could use the extra scratch. There isn't a storyline in sports as intriguing as this one: the Heat -- with two God-like alpha dogs wearing the jersey -- cannot succeed in a game-deciding situation. It's like clockwork: keep it close, and they will fold. Forget about the meaning of "clutch", or how it even applies to professional hoops. This thing -- concrete or imagined -- exists somewhere, most likely in LBJ's head. This is taking a toll, it has to be, and will until the Heat finally break through. Right now, they don't even look close.
Lest we forget, James is still the best basketball player alive; Wade is unarguably in the top five. I found this tweet from SI's very own point-forward Zach Lowe to be grounded and sobering.
Perhaps that's true, and that one day soon everyone of us will taste crow. But right now? I'm not worrying about a thing, man. Live in the moment and bathe in this: it's happening, and it's wonderful. Wade knows it, too.
The man isn't wrong. If Miami eventually figures it out, good for them. But right now, I can't stop smiling.
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Odds And Ends
If this isn't the most obvious Facebook profile picture of all-time, then I haven't seen it.
Tiger, Tiger Woods...
"D. Rose and the Chem. 12" get a ringing endorsement from some dork.
YouTube montage of Chris Bosh getting hit in the face, soundtracked by "Roundball Rock". It's as good as it sounds.
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Tupac .gif? Tupac .gif.
This is a great moment. Hold it tight.
Tremendous Upside Potential is a Chicago sports blog that updates multiples times a day. Grab the RSS feed and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.