All season long the Heat have struggled to close out tight games against good teams. When I looked up the score yesterday and saw them holding a slim lead at halftime this thought went through my head: “maybe they can do it this time. Maybe this is the game they make a stand and just finish someone off. Maybe this is the game the team finally plays to their potential.”
Alas, it was not that game. Once again, the Heat found themselves staring at a victory that went unclaimed. Tears were allegedly shed in the locker room and Lebron proclaimed that he would not fail in the final moments again…ever.
It pains me to see Lebron reduced to fits of finally realizing, “man, this is harder than I thought”, but maybe this will be the spark the team needs. Something has to happen, and something has to change. No championship contender has needed a spark like this before in March…
More importantly, we have spent this entire season searching for the right analogy to apply to Miami’s rapid ascension to the top of the crowded NBA heap. Were they, as they claimed, the Heatles? I proposed they were playing like the X-Men at times. However, the music connection seems more apt as I have finally figured out who the Heat have patterned themselves after:
wait for it…
The Spice Girls.
Holding for applause.
Yes, I figured it out!: The Heat most resemble this group of young ladies that stormed to the top of the music charts out of nowhere:
Here we have the most complete Heat analogy that works for every aspect of their formation through (hopefully) the end of this season. Like the Heat, the Spice Girls were put together for one reason: complete domination and for a year or so they succeeded (the Spice Girls even had a sold out Reunion tour in 2008 for which they were paid $1 million each show – any guesses on which one needed money?) Can the Heat have a similiar impact on pro basketball?
We need to get the complete breakdown:
The Scene: 1994
How crazy was it? Everywhere people went absolutely, and completely, out of their minds for the Spice Girls. Within days of their arrival they were without a doubt one of the most popular music acts of all time. In my life, no group has rocketed to fame with the same speed as the Spice Girls did. It was insane. People today cannot even truly understand how popular they were. They moved from complete unknowns to one of the most popular groups of all time. Seriously, they are on my Mount Rushmore of Inexplicable Pop Music Phenoms (Joining: The Backstreet Boys, Britney Spears and Justin Bieber)
The Setting: Summer 2010
In the craziest moment of Post Decision craziness, Lebron and co. have a ridiculous “championship celebration-esque” party in Miami. Miami won the lottery – everyone else loved to hate. That single moment signalled the beginning of one of the best basketball seasons in history. Never have people been as excited for an NBA season as they have for this one – my friend, ADub and I meet up once a week and all of our conversations have been completely dominated by basketball talk. This season has just totally sucked us in. Regardless of who comes through the playoffs there is only one thing that is absolutely certain: the playoffs will be epic. Ridiculously epic.
How do we break it down? With the Heatles analogy it was easy:
Lebron = John, the talented one.
Wade = Paul, the 2nd best and cutest.
Bosh = George, the third best and quiet one.
Mike Miller = Ringo, the least talented “other one”.
With the Spice Girls, the who’s-who gets slightly more complex. In my opinion it breaks down like so…
Sexy = Wade – Not the most talented of the Spice Girls but definitely the best known…for being attractive. Wade is a great basketball player but let’s face it, if Lebron was as handsome as his teammate it is quite possible he would rule the world. However, while Wade is not the most talented of the Heat, he is the face (and heart and soul) of the team. He leads them forward with a “do it all” game.
Baby = Bosh – The youngest of the Spice Girls seemed to have the most potential, but she ended up forever labelled as the “baby” of the group. Bosh seems stuck with the same tag. While he can play extremely well, he still seems like a young player still finding himself. Can he step it up when it counts? (BONUS: his new nickname = Bosh Spice)
Scary = Bibby – The newest Heat member is scary for one reason only: his defense. Additionally, his ability to shoot the three has the potential to help the Heat immensely. Kind of like Scary Spice, who was known for singing really loudly! Additionally, Scary always seemed like the oldest Spice and the veteran leader. Bibby will hopefully grow into a similiar role.
Posh / Sporty = Lebron – How does LBJ demand double Spice comparisons? Well, Sporty was easily (and I mean far and away) the most talented Spice, just as Lebron is head and shoulders the most talented of the Heat. Posh was always sort of villainous and into fashion…ditto Lebron. As Sporty went, so did the Spice Girls…and yet, the one Spice Girl who has stayed in the public eye is Posh (of course due to her high profile marriage to David Beckham). Lebron will be the best known of the Heat and hopefully can lead them to a title.
If not, he can always start putting in some calls to David Beckham.
Now…about that 4 game losing streak…
Here is what needs to happen: Lebron needs to straight up dominate. At times he seems oddly passive, like he fears rocking the boat with his new teammates if he scores 40 a game. He is too quick with a mistimed pass and often forgoes opportunities to head to the rim by settling for occasionally horrible jump shots. Head for the rim, LBJ and do not stop until you have thrown it down on subpar centers! Forget about getting Wade and Bosh involved fully – they will get their points from your uncanny ability to make your teammates (one of the largest upsides to your game). The time for experimenting is over and the formula simple – dominating LBJ = wins.
Take two examples against playoff contenders:
44 points at Portland
51 points at Orlando
In games when LBJ goes over 40, the Heat are undefeated. If he plays like he can, the Heat can go all the way. If he does not, they are not contenders. My brother, Just Ross, asked me the other day if I thought LBJ should have gone elsewhere. As much as we can now speculate on the endless “what ifs”, this is where he is and where he will stay. Without him the Heat are barely in the playoffs and he needs to begin to show his incalcuable value in leading the team down the stretch. Case in point:
Currently I have been reading Sam Smith’s excellent account of the 1991 Chicago Bulls season – The Jordan Rules, in that book theBullsstruggled for the entire season before Jordan finally decided to abandon the concepts of team play and just dominate. They won because of his ability to make everyone better. Lebron has that ability too, and it is time for him to show it.
Take over Lebron, go ahead – your team needs you.