It was pretty cool four years ago when the Celtics got matched up against the Lakers in the NBA Finals and suddenly, everywhere you looked around town, someone was either selling or wearing a “BEAT LA!” t-shirt. When the shirts reemerged last year, it was just as much fun. It was the Lakers, after all. But the Heat are not the Lakers, and these “BEAT THE HEAT” t-shirts that the Celtics have been trying to flog lately are pretty ridiculous. If, like me, you’re on the Celtics email list, you’ve been getting endless messages hyping them and, I mean, just look at the ad on the team’s homepage.
Even the t-shirt hawkers outside Fenway Park have been getting into the anti-Heat act, selling green T’s that say various unkind things about LeBron.
Yeah, LeBron, D-Wade, and Bosh are annoying and the players on the Heat are easy to root against. But the Miami fan base doesn’t deserve to be hated. That’s giving them too much credit. They’re a non-entity. Real rivalries today are more about hatred between fan bases than they are hatred between players anyway (although, quite clearly, the Heat and Celtics do hate each other). It’s fun to jaw with Lakers fans just like it’s fun to get into it with people misguided enough to support the Yankees. But when was the last time you had a conversation, let alone a spirited one, with a Heat fan? I’m sure there are dozens of them somewhere, but I’ve yet to find them. That’s why it was so disappointing that LeBron went to Miami in the first place last summer — not because it was wrong of him to leave Cleveland, but because it was wrong of him to bless people who just don’t care with his otherworldly talents. It was a huge F-You to real basketball fans everywhere.
So please, let’s not elevate the Heat to real rivalry status with dumb t-shirts. Although, it would be pretty funny if everybody showed up at the Garden tonight in purple gingham.
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