Originally posted on Fox Sports Ohio  |  Last updated 5/2/12
When LeBron James left Cleveland for Miami in the summer of 2010, the idea wasnt to win a title or two. At least, not if you listened to James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh, who told the world on their own stage that the goal was to win six or seven championships. And they sounded like they believed it would be that easy. Now, this isnt to trash James for his Decision Show or desire to play next to some of his best friends, who also just happen to be some of the games brightest stars. Were past all that. Nor is the idea to be critical of the shortcomings of James or the Heat in last years Finals loss to Dallas. LeBron wilted in the fourth quarter of some of those games. Well, so what? Despite playing with greats like Wade and (to a much lesser extent) Bosh, its LeBron who often puts his team in position to win. Is it really that big of a deal when he does it? OK, it is. But not as much as the national media and babbling mouths on those sports debate shows would like you to believe. And despite most Cleveland fans strong dislike of James, its never really been James himself thats bugged me. Yes, I thought his hour-long special was somewhat arrogant and incredibly silly -- but again, I dont think it was entirely his fault. If I root against the Heat (and I do), its only because I feel for my brothers and sisters in basketball who live in Northeast Ohio. I feel for the people who care about the game, and how James and pals treated a respectable professional sports league like the Amateur Athletic Union. Was it wrong in the big scheme of things? Hardly. Im sure we all have bigger worries. And James, Wade and Bosh certainly didnt break any laws. It just wasnt cool. And thats it. But as for LeBron the person Im OK with him. Hes actually very likeable in media situations, which are the only type of situations our paths have crossed. So, this isnt about any of that. To be clear, I dont have a problem with LeBron the Person. Never have, most likely never will. What irritates me to the point of wanting to kick in my TV set is the hype. Its the constant barrage of highlight shows, praise, interviews, and entire pages on respected Web sites, all devoted to nothing but the Heat. Thats not James fault. Its not Wades nor Boshs. Its ours. That said, its true the Heat brought much of the attention on themselves. Its true they deserve to be scrutinized at every opportunity. They promised greatness. And they havent delivered. That is point of this. Nothing more, nothing less. Pressure is on No one is facing as much pressure in these playoffs as the Heat, maybe in any playoffs ever. In Year One of the Big Three, their failure to win a championship was celebrated -- but understandable. It was, after all, Year One. But in order to win six or seven championships, or even two or three, the Heat need to do it now. Chicagos Derrick Rose is out for the playoffs with a knee injury. News Yorks Amare Stoudemire is out for the first round with a hand injury. Atlanta and Indiana are nice teams, but neither looks ready to do anything special. And Boston is too old, not deep enough, and playing on heart and guts at a level when that typically is not enough. Basically, the Heats road to the Finals is paved with red carpet. Once there, things could be a little more difficult, with Oklahoma City, the Lakers and a few others being a bit tougher than anything the Heat will find in the East. Either way, this has to be the year. The Heat must get it done. LeBron and Bosh have to prove they are championship-caliber players -- and not just really good in the regular season. And Wade has to win a ring without Shaquille ONeal. Otherwise, the whole thing has failed. Otherwise, the Heat stand no chance of winning the promised six or seven titles. Otherwise, they might not even win one. And otherwise, the fallout will likely be as grand as the introduction. Coach Erik Spoelstra will be replaced. One of the Big Three (most likely Bosh) might get traded. Or some other big name (maybe Steve Nash) will try to hop on board and be the missing piece -- yet again. People will stop believing the hype. So far, thats all the Heat have been about. And were talking about a team that has yet to finish with the best regular-season record in its own conference. So this is it. The Heat have to win it all. Now. Its what they said theyd do, its why they were built. If not, we can feel free to do what Clevelanders have done when thinking about LeBron. We can all just stop caring and move on. Because thats what the Heat will have earned. Follow Sam Amico on Twitter @SamAmicoFSO
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