As most basketball fans know, the Heat are a mean bunch of bullies who steal smaller teams' lunch money. To make matters worse, for much of this season they've spent that money on candy (i.e. losses) instead of nourishing fruits and vegetables (i.e. wins). Yes, I will take this analogy as far as it can go.
But they are not just big meanies with no regard for the precious things that bond all of humanity together. Sometimes they even do nice things for little children. From the Associated Press:
Christian had plans [to] celebrate his birthday night of Oct. 22 at an NBA preseason game in his hometown of Tampa, Fla., watching his favorite player -- LeBron James(notes) -- and the Heat play against the Orlando Magic. He told his parents he didn't want a party, just tickets, and they obliged with ones near midcourt.
The seats would have been perfect. The game was never played. That was the contest canceled by slippery court conditions, and the boy went home in tears. [...]
Moved by a letter his mother wrote about what her son felt like the night of the canceled game, team officials arranged for tickets for the Liebert family to see Saturday's game in Miami against the Atlanta Hawks, along with a hotel stay and some other souvenirs. The family sat courtside for a portion of the pregame, in the very seats the Heat players would occupy during the game. Several players and assistant coaches stopped to say hello, and Christian posed for some photos.
Bravo, Heat. This kid has lived a tough life dealing with his unfortunate disease, and for him to have his dream of going to a game taken from him must have stung. He deserved to have fun at this game, and hopefully it lived up to what he expected.
Wait, what? The kid is perfectly healthy?
Look, this is a very nice gesture by the Heat and I'm sure the kid had a great time, especially because the Heat won. But someone desperately needs to tell the franchise how to get the best publicity possible when it needs it. Everyone hates Miami because it seems like the bad guys. What better way to get some positive attention than by helping those most in need instead of those who just need help scoring some new tickets?
I mean, this kid even says that he likes the Heat because they have LeBron, Wade and Bosh. Rule No. 1 of NBA public relations: Never pick out a frontrunner to be the one who receives a gift -- always go with the diehard fan.
Before you all pillory me in the comments, please know that I'm joking. I am not actually this disgustingly cynical, but there's still some truth here: The Heat are so obviously villains to the rest of the NBA that they can't even help children in the same relentlessly positive ways that everyone else does. Every other team helps a sick kid. Why did the Heat pick someone who seems to have only become a fan this summer?
That's difficult to answer. But even though they've struggled at times this season, the Heat don't seem terribly interested in pleasing everyone. LeBron is still making references to his own greatness, Wade is still largely quiet, and Bosh continues to attend silly parties. I doubt this is a coordinated plan to become pure villains, but the Heat appear fine with being largely disliked. In my view, that's a good thing, because it's the reality of their situation.