Five Reasons Miami Heat Fans Deserve More Respect

Categories: Sports

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Photo by Alex Broadwell
When LeBron James headed back home to Cleveland, he forgot to pack something Heat fans hoped he'd take with him -- namely, the national hate for Dade County's fans. Before LeBron came to Miami, no one really had a problem with Heat fans, but while he was here, Heat fans caught what amounted to LeBron James ricochet-hate.

Now that LeBron has left, the easy joke to make is that Heat fans will follow. Somehow a fan base that sold out every game the past four years wasn't good enough for everyone on the outside, just another example of how plastic, fake, and fickle Miami is as a whole. Enough is enough.

Fact is, the Heat has long had one of the best fan bases in the NBA, and the numbers back up that claim. A franchise younger than almost every player on the team has proven time and time again that fans do just fine supporting the Heat. So let's bust some myths, dammit. Here's why Miami Heat fans deserve much more respect.

1. Breaking news: Miami didn't invent the bandwagon fan. Glass houses, bro.
Looking for an example of another team that saw an incredibly rapid rise in fan interest in relation to their team's sudden success wasn't the least bit hard. I just cherry-picked my favorite.

Here are the attendance numbers for "Team A" during a four-year stretch.

2005-06: 16,899 (18th in the NBA)
2006-07: 16,843 (20th in the NBA)
2007-08: 18,624 (12th in the NBA)
2008-09: 18,624 (12th in the NBA)

The franchise above ranked in the lower half of the NBA in attendance prior to the 2007-08 season, then saw a jump in ticket sales from 2007-09. "Team A" is the Boston Celtics, a franchise with 17 NBA titles and a fan base regarded as one of the, if not the, most loyal in the NBA. Except, you see, when they aren't.

The Celtics won 24 games in 2006-07, good for last in the Eastern Conference, so why did they see attendance jump from 20th to 12th after such a terrible season? Because something odd happened -- they added good players, and people like nice things! So weird! In the 2007-08 off-season, the Celtics traded for Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen. The following season, the Celtics won 42 more games than the year prior plus an NBA championship.

So to recap, arguably the league's most storied franchise has fans that tend to support a winner more so than a loser, which is so odd, because I thought that just happened in Miami. At least in Miami we do bandwagoning right. Boston, you could manage only the league's 12th best attendance? You're doing it wrong.

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2. Almost no Heat fans left Game 6 of the 2013 NBA Finals. I know, I'll give you a second to recover from that karate chop of truth your face just ate.
I'm so good at Photoshop! It took me hours to cut and paste little Miami Heat fans into these pictures.

Let's get something out of the way: Leaving this game was inexcusable. Heat fans that bailed on Game 6 for what amounts to a 15-minute head start on their sad drive home should be ashamed of themselves and rightfully have to live with that decision for the rest of their lives. Now that that's out of the way, we can talk facts. Almost no one left this game early, like literally almost nobody. No, wait -- I'll explain! I know the pictures above of a packed arena aren't enough for some of the slower members of our audience.

AmericanAirlines Arena sits/stands north of 20,000 people for an NBA Finals game. Deadspin correctly put up a post titled "Hundreds of Heat Fans Leave Game 6 Early; a Nation Laughs" following the game. I'm no mathematician, but let's say 500 left -- that would mean 2.5 percent of the people in that arena decided to beat traffic -- not exactly enough of a number to make a sweeping generalization about a fan base. Hell, call it 1,000 -- that's still 5 percent, which is about the same number of fans you might find taking a dump at any given moment during an NBA game. It's a slippery slope pointing out the shady actions of the lower 5 percent of your fan base. I'm looking at you, Boston Bruins fans.

Look at the pictures, America. Watch the video. USE YOUR FACE TO DO THESE THINGS! I BELIEVE IN YOU!



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30 comments
chip.mayhugh
chip.mayhugh

Miami: NFL all time winningest coach, Longest NCAA home winning streak, only NFL undefeated season, hosted best NFL game, hosted best NFL Super Bowl, hosted best NCAA National Championship game. The Marlins have won 2 World Series, The Heat have won 3 Championships, The Hurricanes have won 5 National Championships and played for 5 others. 

tkett
tkett

See what you get wrong is nobody is really questioning Heat fans IN Miami (and nearby). What we question is all the bandwagoners who have never lived near Cleveland or Miami (nor their families) and were sudden Cleveland fans when they had Lebron then sudden Heat fans when they had him, and now are Cleveland fans again. Personally as a Nuggets fan we have seen a LOT of disappointing seasons, but I have gone to games where we get blown out just because well the players are usually loyal and know how to make even blowouts fun to watch. 

Virgil Capote
Virgil Capote

How about 5 reasons why you should report real news...

Jorge Vieta
Jorge Vieta

305 MIAMI ALL DAY. Fuck every other city and their team

indyhb
indyhb

Jealousy. That's what it's all about. Barkley hates Miami because they made the "Big 3" thing work - something he failed at miserably when he tried it back in the day with Scottie Pippen and Clyde Drexler. That's why you'll never hear Sir Charles say anything nice about Miami unless it involved Lebron or Pat Riley who's untouchable. Hey, if you're "legacy" was tied to the Sixers and the Suns - you'd be jealous too.

Wayne Hildreth
Wayne Hildreth

Lmfao at all you clowns. This article is almost spot on except if they had used actual attendance it would have been even better. That's actually a s s es in the seats for games! The heat fans showed up for games. Late or not every single one of them that bought tickets went to games. The broke 100 percent attendance 3 times in four seasons. Cleveland did it once in 7 with Lebron.

Peter Gonzalez
Peter Gonzalez

I call BS on this one. Miami is big time bandwagon.

grosserjeffrey
grosserjeffrey

Very well done piece by Ryan Yousefi in uncovering mistruths about the Miami Heat fan base. While I’m unaffected by people who don’t like the Heat or don’t like LeBron James or didn’t like “The Decision”, the public ire towards the Miami Heat fan base indeed makes my hackles rise, not so much from an emotional standpoint but moreover on an absurdity level. The truth is that fans in Dade and Broward counties aren’t much different than fans anywhere else. There isn’t a city in the NBA that would not celebrate – really celebrate – LeBron James joining their franchise. And why not? He’s a once in a generation player. His skill sets are off the charts. The guy brought two titles to Miami. Titles excite fans. Winning puts asses in seats. And it’s been that way in sports going back decades before the Heat existed. 1970s We Are Family Pirates – Fun. Lots of playoffs. Two World Series. Lots of fans. Losing 193 games in two seasons in early nineties. Not fun. No fans. Waiting for Steelers season. 49ers pre-Montana vs post-Montana? Different fans. I used to sit against the glass at Blackhawks games in 2003 for $50. Now everyone in Chicago has Hawk mania and Wrigley is a lot emptier without Wood and Prior and Sosa and Zambrano. You can go on forever. Who was rooting for Orlando Woolridge and Reggie Theus before Jordan was drafted by the Bulls? No one cared. They were rooting for Walter Payton because he was the best. The Brewers? Fun when they had Yount and Molitor and Higuera. Packed houses. Rowdy crowds. Lots of drinking. Then nobody went. Awful team. Bad new uniorms. Then a new stadium. Braun and Gallardo and Sabathia come around. All of the sudden everyone’s at the Crew game. It’s the thing to do. An event. In the NBA, look at what’s going on in Los Angeles. It’s a Lakers town. Always will be. But wow. 100% sell-out rate for 41 home games last year. Not for the Lakers. For the CLIPPERS. In 2008 when they won 19 games they were 22nd in attendance. I guess Lob City is fun. People like it. Buy jerseys. How about the Detroit Pistons? First in league attendance every year from 2002 to 2009 with the exception of 2006 when the finished second. They won fifty or more games each year. Swept the Lakers in the Finals. Two years ago they were dead last - #30 – in attendance. The fact that people like Michael Wilbon – “The Heat don’t deserve LeBron James” – what does that even mean? Charles Barkley – “The Heat don’t have real fans.” – Well, yeah they do. They just want you to stop talking. The Heat have averaged 52 wins a season over the last decade. 5 Finals appearances. 3 Championships and America can’t figure out why Miami is so into them.

miamiislame
miamiislame

miami is full of bandwagoning tools. Miami isn't a real city just a cest pool of AIDS. Lebron left cause he saw that. /puke

Carmen Cuba
Carmen Cuba

We like a winner what is wrong with that. Why do you think Cleveland funs are so exited to see Lebron going back. lol

Manny Cabrera
Manny Cabrera

We might've not invented the bandwagon. We all know there are plenty other places who harbor the same type of fan. But we sure do have a ton of them.

Mickey Blue
Mickey Blue

If anyone needs further proof that the entire city of Miami are bandwagons. This was an ACTUAL commercial and campaign ran by the Heat Organization teaching the groupies in Miami how to conduct themselves like real fans. Miami isn't a sports city, they're a fad city, they only follow the hype temporarily.

Gonzalo del Barrio
Gonzalo del Barrio

We'll be better than the Bulls bro Rose will never be MVP material again n Gasol ain't nothing to worry about anymore. Who else they got, Noah? Yea he can help with rebounds not offense

Carlos Cnotez Rodriguez
Carlos Cnotez Rodriguez

305 til I die!!! All u part timers and half ass(ers??) Can go back to ur shitty ass cities where u came from.thank you come again

Millie Santana
Millie Santana

There are very FEW loyal Miami Heats fans that surely deserve a lot more respect. But it is true,the rest didn't invent the term "Bandwagon Fans" they were born like that. Support your teams regardless people - The Marlins, the HEAT & the DOLPHINS!! :)

Mario Turcios
Mario Turcios

Heat fans were already Heat fans before Lebron, during Lebron, and after Lebron

Steve Ellett
Steve Ellett

I have Miami as the third best team in the east behind Cleveland and Chicago. The heat are still in the hunt

foolonthehill107
foolonthehill107

@indyhb by the way, that houston big 3 team was one Karl Malone illegal screen away from making the finals (Never wondered how stockton got so open?...look at the replay) to face the Bulls whom they had already beaten in the regular season

foolonthehill107
foolonthehill107

@indyhb were you even alive when Barkley played? Pippen had nothing to do with any "Big 3"....the big 3 was Charles, Hakeem and Clyde....then toward the end, they got pippen for one year because charles sacrificed a bunch of money so houston could afford him. Then Scottie barely fucking tried and then asked to leave. Nice appreciation for charles sacrifice....asshole pippen

gleroy2680
gleroy2680

@miamiislame hahahaha! Where are you from clown? You know nothing about Miami! The article brings out the truth which I see hurts a lot!!!

lunchtable
lunchtable

Tell that to the '72 Dolphins fans and Miami Hurricanes alumni. Stay butthurt friend, and enjoy your life living in whatever lifeless, boring city in which you reside.

indyhb
indyhb

@foolonthehill107 @indyhb Dude - whatever. Yes I was alive when the Rockets were good (with no Barkley, btw) and won something (the year Jordan was playing baseball - hello - major asterisk on that one) - I owned a sports paper at the time. If they get the screen call they lose to the Bulls in the Finals anyway. Anyone who thinks a regular season win means anything in the postseason obviously hasn't been watching the game very long. Barkley still ends up with no rings. He was the Carmelo Anthony of this day - skilled, but on a tier lower than most of the stars at the time. In your fantasy scenario he still finishes with two Finals appearances and no rings - the type of seasons the Heat Big 3 referred to as "failure".

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