MIAMI - Dear early exiters,
You've been called a lot of different things the past two days. The national and local media has dubbed you quitters, deserters, fake fans, etc. This is not really important, because you deserve all of it.
You had a golden ticket and instead of finishing the tour of the chocolate factory, you left when things got rough in the bubble room.
That's why I was quick to criticize you specifically. I documented your unfortunate decisions on Twitter. Those tweets circulated around North America. They could be found on ESPN, Deadspin, Yahoo! Sports, New York Magazine, Bleacher Report, the South Florida Sun Sentinel and others. Because people were so floored by your actions, I was trending in Chicago and Canada. (Canada?!) Even BBC Radio contacted me.
Hopefully, the last 48 hours have been full of regret and you've learned your lesson, but that isn't what's important either.
SPECIAL SECTION: Heat in the NBA Finals
What's important is that ALL Heat fans have been called a lot of different things the past two days. That includes the die-hards. The families that wouldn't stop believing. The guy in the upper deck screaming with desperation and the guys close enough to the action that they could read Ray Allen's lips when he said to get those mother effin' ropes out of here.
You didn't create the bad reputation. You just embodied it at a very bad time. Lots of different excuses have been given for that reputation, some more valid than others.
The point is we're in this together. We have Game 7 at home and there's no energy to be wasted on previous mistakes. The Miami Heat can become the sixth NBA franchise to win back-to-back championships. We can enter into true dynasty territory.
The case for LeBron as the greatest ever becomes stronger and the case for Dwyane Wade's heart as that of true champion becomes unimpeachable. We can brag loudly and obnoxiously about having won more championships than that team in New York.
The truth is, win or lose, this team deserves a rabid fan base. Mickey Arison and Pat Riley have done everything a fan can ask for, which is to say that they have done everything to acquire the best players in the world and put them in the best position to win.
All that matters is what we do from here. If you have a ticket to Game 7, giddy up. Please act under the assumption that the San Antonio Spurs are personally responsible for all the vitriol we've felt for two days (and all our lives, really) and somehow Gregg Popovich forced you into acting against your will.
If you're watching from home, plan your beverage and bathroom breaks accordingly and don't turn off Local 10 till it's over.
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