I remember when Miami Heat forward LeBron James decided that he was going to "take his talents to South Beach" and join Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh down in Miami in the summer of 2010. When that announcement was made, everyone acted like the NBA Championship and more to follow was guaranteed to be claimed by the Heat. Basketball experts everywhere were talking about how the Heat would break the record for most regular season wins set by the 1995-'96 Chicago Bulls. Other were talking about how the Heat wouldn't be beaten by anyone. Meanwhile, they were throwing victory parades in Miami before the Heat ever played a regular season game with this newly assembled "Big 3," and James went on record saying that this team would win not 4, not 5, not 6, not 7, but countless championships. ESPN even dedicated a section of their website to the Heat, calling it the "Heat Index." So when all of this hype is heard about you, delivering in the moment of truth has to happen, and so far the Heat have come up short in every way. In 2010-'11, the Heat didn't even have the best record in their own conference and they didn't even get to 60 wins overall. They did make it to the NBA Finals, but it wasn't like they were overpowering getting there. They won each series on the way 4-1, but a lot of those games they played could've easily went the other way. So when I kept hearing that the Heat are playing so well and there was no way the Dallas Mavericks could be them in the NBA Finals, I just laughed. Looking at the series match-ups, I felt that the Heat had better talent, but the Mavericks had better chemistry, better coaching and most of all, a better team. In other words, I was not surprised to see the Mavericks beat the Heat in the series because of the reasons listed above. So the most hyped team ever couldn't live up to the hype. The victory parade that happened in the summer of 2010 was all for the paper champions. The parade for the real champions happened in Dallas-Fort Worth, not in South Beach. So now we're in the middle of 2011-'12 and all we hear about once again is how the Heat should win the title and how great the Heat are. But once again it's a different story on the court. The Heat do not have the best record in the East right now, lost to a Bulls team without Derrick Rose, and just got housed by the Oklahoma City Thunder and Indiana Pacers on consecutive nights. James and Wade still have some chemistry issues at times if they're not in the open court together and James still has a huge mental block when it comes to stepping up in those crucial final seconds. All I'm saying is before I call the Miami Heat the best team ever, they have to win at least one ring before any of that comes to mind. Until then, the Heat are OVERRATED until further notice. Yes, I said overrated. With all the hype we've heard about this team in the past couple of seasons, you would think that they're the only team that matters. I don't care what the Heat do until they actually win a title, if they win a title at all. I was one of the few that said we should wait and see what happens with this team before we start calling them the greatest team ever. Now it's being proven on the court. If the Heat win the title this year, I will come back and say how wrong I was. But until that happens, I will always call the Heat paper champions until further notice.
By Charles Taylor