In regard to the Miami Heat, let me first say this: “Miami Vice” was championship- caliber for years with just Tubbs and Crockett; they won their time period season after season without adding Matlock, Cagney or Lacey.
The Heat is not the first basketball franchise to stuff three potential Hall of Famers into the starting lineup in an attempt to buy NBA history. The Los Angeles Lakers brought in Wilt Chamberlain to join Elgin Baylor and Jerry West in the late 1960s; result in three seasons: no titles. The Boston Celtics shipped in carpetbaggers Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett to join Paul Pierce in 2007; result to date: one title.
Now we have LeBron James and Chris Bosh joining Dwyane Wade in South Beach, with The Decision-Maker trumpeting the Heat to win multiple titles. This will prove to be the most outlandish, wide-to-the-right proclamation since agent Joe Douglas’ statement in 1988 that his client, Carl Lewis, might one day be as big as Michael Jackson.
I have nothing against the Heat and I get along with LeBron swimmingly. But this current Dream Team could become a No-Title Nightmare. Because, time and again, the best laid plans of mice and general managers go awry.
With the NBA season opening today, we now provide Seven Reasons The Heat Won’t Win An NBA Championship:
Zydrunas Ilgauskas is bad luck.
He has followed LeBron to Miami, and, frankly, nothing good ever happens to Z. Drafted in 1996 – that was the year, I believe, that LeBron took his talents to Chuck E. Cheese – Ilgauskas missed his entire first season because of a broken bone in his foot. Then he missed most of the 1998-99, 1999-2000 and 2000-01 seasons with foot woes. Then he finally got Lebron as a teammate in 2003 and still no title for seven more seasons. Heck, last year on the night he was going to break the Cavaliers’ franchise record for games played – no small feat considering his injuries – his coach, Mike Brown, didn’t play him. In Lithuania, Ilgauskas means “short end of the stick.”
So, suddenly we’re supposed to believe that Erik Spoelstra is half Red Auerbach, half Phil Jackson?
What, you think ANYBODY can coach a talented team to a title? There’s a big difference between NBA Live basketball and playoff basketball, my friends. The only thing Spoelstra has in common with Pat Riley is great hair. Have you seen this guy? If I bumped into him anywhere other than an NBA arena, I’d say to him, “Can you tell me about the specials?”
Sometimes, life gets in the way.
Here is a sample Heat injury report: LeBron James (hamstring), Mike Miller (thumb), Eddie House (shoulder), Mario Chalmers (ankle), Carlos Arroyo (groin), Jamaal Magliore (knee), Dwyane Wade (divorce and custody hearings). Yes, the team’s longtime franchise player keeps missing practice because he is testifying, in Chicago. I’ll put this as bluntly, and gently, as I can: You cannot build a basketball dynasty if you are dribbling in family court.
Speaking of injuries…
LeBron and D-Wade both have bad hamstrings. Hamstrings are like sump pumps – once they malfunction, they never fully recover; you’re always just one rainy day away from re-aggravating your hammy. And, as an ex-athlete myself – pinball and bowling – Couch Slouch can tell you that the body starts breaking down as you approach 30 (and the mind isn’t far behind).
You cannot buy happiness, with the possible exception of Donald Trump.
Dream teams seldom work out in the long run – look at Elizabeth Taylor-Richard Burton, Tom Cruise-Nicole Kidman, Brad Pitt-Jennifer Anniston, Al and Tipper Gore, Courteney Cox-David Arquette and Dennis Rodman-Carmen Electra.
Who, exactly, is Chris Bosh?
Remember the Three Tenors? Luciano Pavarotti, Placido Domingo and … the other guy. I love Bosh’s game, but to many casual observers, the Heat’s Three Tenors are LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and … the other guy.
The final obstacle. Good luck.
Ask The Slouch
Q. Re: Colts punter Pat McAfee. Have you ever been arrested shirtless, soaking wet and reeking of alcohol? (Brian King; Carmel, Ind.)
A. Too much is made of public intoxication; in a simpler America, I believe you should be allowed to walk home drunk. Plus punting’s a part-time job with Peyton Manning’s Colts – I wouldn’t begrudge McAfee a midweek cocktail.
Q. If your married life were measured according to the NFL passer rating system, would it be higher than Jimmy Clausen’s current numbers? (Brian Mruk; Arlington, Va.)
A. Actually, my current union – on the days I don’t fumble – is my first approaching 158.3.
Q. If Bill Belichick is a branch of the Bill Parcells coaching tree, does this make Eric Mangini a twig? (Duane Mathias; Parma, Ohio)
A. Pay the man, Shirley.