It hasn't been an easy season for the Miami Heat, whose strong start to their first post-LeBron campaign devolved into a dismal 5-12 December amid injuries to the likes of top gun Chris Bosh, who missed eight games with a left calf strain, and offseason acquisition Josh McRoberts, who's likely out for the season after surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his right knee. Erik Spoelstra's club has ranked 21st among 30 NBA teams in points scored per possession since the beginning of December while posting the league's third-worst defensive efficiency mark during that timeframe — Miami has allowed 108.7 points per 100 possessions over the last 19 games, better only than the cratering Minnesota Timberwolves and New York Knicks — and has dropped to 15-20, just 1 1/2 games up on the Indiana Pacers for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.
In such trying times, fans can either succumb to the reasons why their support for the hometown team might waver, or they can choose to double down and reaffirm their devotion in a major way. Let it never be said that Rick Ross is a fairweather fan.
[Follow Dunks Don't Lie on Tumblr: The best slams from all of basketball]
Yep, that's the Maybach Music Group mogul sporting some fresh ink of the Heat's flaming-basketball logo near his right eye after a recent trip to Farmingdale, N.J., tattoo shop Unroyal Ink. If this seems like a somewhat remarkable display of fandom for the girthy gruntsman, let's remember that he's already allegedly plunked down $100,000 on the proposition that the Heat will finish this season with a better record than LeBron James' Cleveland Cavaliers, who presently sit four games north of Miami at 19-16 and just added J.R. Smith and Iman Shumpert from the New York Knicks in a three-team deal aimed at bolstering their wing rotation for the remainder of the season.
And, since we're talking about LeBron and J.R., let's also remind you that we've seen some much more eye-popping displays of ink-related fandom in recent years, including this full-back LBJ tat and this full-throat J.R. homage, to say nothing of li'l brother Chris Smith's shoutout to his big bro. Comparatively speaking, Ross' face-flame seems downright demure.
Then again, y'know, it's on his FACE. Then again, given Ross' predilection toward accessorizing with large reflective eyewear, and the nearby presence of the logo of MMG artist/Dion Waiters pal Meek Mill's DreamChasers mixtape series, it won't be the only thing for folks to focus on when they sneak a peek at Rozay. Whether it serves as enough of an eye-catching motivator to get Dwyane Wade and crew back on track, propel them up the Eastern standings and keep Ross' 100-stack investment safe, however, remains to be seen. We'll have to keep an eye on Miami's Thursday night matchup with the Portland Trail Blazers; it's a good bet that Ross will be. (We're guessing it'll be his right one.)
Hat-tip to SI.com's Extra Mustard.
- - - - - - -