The Heat Love Guns

7 10 2010

The Miami Heat mean business this season, what with their three superstars and army of veteran role players who may or may not actually be able to help a playoff team. They’re in search of nothing less than a championship this season and will do whatever it takes to get there.

Pat Riley and Erik Spoelstra wanted to have the team start things out with the right tone, so they brought their team to Hurlburt Field and Eglin Air Force Base in the Florida Panhandle from September 28 to October 3 to show the Heat a thing or two about being tough. There’s no better place to do that than with the men and women of our nation’s armed forces.

Upon its announcement, Spoelstra said the team would be training at those locations to get away from the media circus and give back to those who serve our country. That’s well said, Spo, although Miami haters likely view it as the Heat wrapping themselves in the flag and deflecting all criticism. As one of our nation’s great leaders once said, you can’t please all the people all the time.

Of course, the biggest takeaway from the week for the Heat might have been something quite different than honor and togetherness and the joy of team-building. As seen in the video above, they got to watch people shoot guns at old cars and other random targets. From the looks of this clip, it was really awesome.

I’m not sure what the point of this demonstration was. Perhaps the Miami braintrust wanted to show their players the power of accurate shooting. Maybe Dwyane Wade and LeBron James are working on completing the Bad Boys trilogy and wanted to see quality marksmanship firsthand to better disappear into their roles. More likely, though, Riley and Spoelstra wanted to thank their players for taking a week away from the South Beach club scene. It’s a big sacrifice that deserves special commendation.

There are many great parts to this video. LeBron is clearly the biggest fan of guns, or at least the most vocal. For proof, witness his joking and indiscriminate whooping.

However, my favorite part is probably the last bit, when Wade signs a shot-up piece of glass. That is truly a keepsake that none of these servicemen will ever forget.





Otis Smith Criticizes Miami’s Depth

28 09 2010

Everyone hates the Miami Heat because they are no-good bullies who just want to team up with other superstars to win a championship and not actually try hard like real tough guy athletes of the ’80s and ’90s. Just ask Michael Jordan, Larry Bird, and Magic Johnson. They know competition, what with their multiple Hall-of-Fame teammates in an era before the salary cap.

Sorry, I blacked out there for a second. The point is that while the Heat have received a lot of criticism for the way they created this particular incarnation of the roster, they typically haven’t been criticized for how they’ll perform on the court. You know, because they have two of the three best players in the league, not to mention three of the 15 best.

But Magic GM Otis Smith is not so shy about knocking the Miami roster. Just check out these comments courtesy of Tim Povtak at FanHouse:

“They’ve got a good three (players). I’ve got a good 12. We’re as deep as any team in the league, probably deeper,” said Magic general manager Otis Smith. “They’ve got three, and we’re solid 1-12. Until they start playing the games, it’s just a team on paper.”

Smith is absolutely right: the Heat are still just a team on paper. But so are the Magic, sadly. They proved exactly as much last season, when several starters and bench titans underperformed on the way to a conference finals exit at the hands of the Celtics. Plus, they had trouble finding a steady rotation throughout the season, in part because they have too many good players making rotation-player money (the very same 1-12 mentioned by Smith, in fact).

So yes, the Magic are better 1-12. But you also only play five guys at a time, and when three of those players are stars used to playing around 40 minutes a night, the 4-12 dudes don’t matter so much.

It’s hard to get to upset at Smith for these comments — the Magic are trying to create an in-state rivalry with the Heat, and you do that by creating some bad blood before they even tip off. But real rivalries are only forged in the crucible of battle, and as of now the Magic look like a real underdog in those matchups.

The Magic want to stay big-time players in the East this season. But you do that by winning important games, not by needling a squad that’s expected to pillage our nation’s arenas from the fall to the spring.