NBA AM: Wade Unfazed By HEAT Hatred
The addition of All-Star forwards LeBron James and Chris Bosh via free agency to a lineup already featuring Dwyane Wade made the Miami HEAT strong favorites to contend for a NBA title entering the 2011 campaign.
Unfortunately for the trio of Wade, James and Bosh it also made then public enemy number one in NBA circles.
Outside of the comfy confines of south beach, the union was often vilified and unfairly dissected at every turn throughout the season. The team’s losses served as the lead story for most highlight shows and there was always criticism even finding faults in the team’s victories.
It’s hard to call a team which finished with a top three record, won 58 games, roared through the postseason, reached the finals and fell short of hoisting the Larry O’Brien trophy by two games a failure – but most still insist on doing so.
For now, that criticism and the constant negativity surrounding the HEAT doesn’t faze Wade in the slightest.
“My upbringing and my life was way harder than (last season),” Wade told J. Michael Falgoust in an interview with USA TODAY. “Seeing my mom go through the struggles she went through was way harder than being booed. Way harder than someone saying, ‘I hope you lose.’ “
Most critics were forced into silence as the HEAT peaked during their playoff run through the Eastern Conference while exhibiting individual dominance by their three stars and an array of teamwork.
Indeed, the stars appeared to be aligned for the trio to win a championship in their first season together until a series of late game meltdowns versus the Dallas Mavericks in the finals ultimately caused Miami to come apart at the seams.
Wade didn’t make any excuses for the defeat and even tipped his hat to the better team, but vows a HEAT return back to playing at a high level.
“When it came down to it in the fourth quarter, when it came down to making plays, when it came to continuity, they had it,” Wade says when discussing Dallas’ late game execution in the Finals. “Our only job is to come back as better individual players and as a team. Learn from the highs. Learn from the lows.”
Even with the finals loss, rampant criticism of the team is expected to continue once a new Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) is reached and play resumes on the court.
Wade believes there still will be fans looking to vilify the club, but ultimately feels most of the negative energy directed at the team will eventually subside.
“It’s always going to be criticism,” Wade said. “There’s always going to be hatred. … It’s like the first time LeBron went to Cleveland, it was this crazed thing,” Wade says. “Then we went back again, and it wasn’t the same. No matter what people say about the Miami Heat, it will not be the same as it was last year. There’s still going to be stuff out there, but not like the first time.”
Arena Owners Could Feel Lockout Pinch ($1 Billion): When discussing the potential length of the ongoing lockout all eyes typically tend to shift to the players and how long they’ll be able to persevere without a steady stream of income.
After all it is widely believed, strange as it may sound, that a large majority of players live paycheck to paycheck like many folks throughout the world.
The root of the current labor dispute revolves around the league insisting its losing $300 million per year under the current CBA and that more than twenty of its franchises are operating unprofitably.
But what’s missing in the reporting is the potential gate receipts which will be lost by venues who play hosts to the league’s 82 game regular season.
According to a Bloomberg report, potential financial losses from a canceled 2012 regular season could be worth more than $1 billion.
Last year NBA team’s generated over $1.1 billion in gate receipts according to the annual postseason audit conducted by the league and the players’ union. Factor in the typical annual ticket price increases expected in 2012 and the figures could skyrocket.
Since games are already booked at these venues, arena owners are basically stuck without the ability to schedule other acts in order to lessen the brunt of a huge financial loss.
“As much as we would like to have the ability to repurpose those dates, it’s just impossible, ” said John Wentzell, president of TD Garden in Boston, home of basketball’s Celtics and hockey’s Bruins, who own the arena. “I don’t think anyone would attempt to spin this — that it’s not a painful hit to their business.”
According to the report, Bob Gutkowski, former president at Madison Square Garden which serves as the home for the New York Knicks states the team generates at least $1 million in ticket revenue per game – a little over $45 million per season excluding the playoffs.
“Every night there is a good amount of revenue that isn’t going to come through,” Gutkowski said. “And most of it isn’t going to be replaced (in the event of lost games).”
Tristan Thompson Back In School: Going back to school this fall was probably the last thing on Tristan Thompson’s mind after being selected by the Cleveland Cavaliers with the No. 4 overall pick in this year’s draft from the University of Texas.
But that’s exactly the predicament the soon to be rookie forward currently finds himself in as the ongoing labor dispute nears month two.
Thompson though isn’t viewing the situation in a negative fashion overall.
“To be honest, it’s a good thing and a bad thing,” Thompson told TSN. “It’s a bad thing that I’m not in Cleveland right now working out with the Cavaliers and getting ready for the season. But the good thing is that even though I’m not playing basketball, I’m still being productive, I’m working out with the Texas team, and continuing to get my education which is important because when it’s all said and done, basketball can only do so much for you. You stop playing when you’re around 35 so you’ve got another 60 more years to live, and I’ve got to do something. This education is going to help me.”
Thompson’s calculation regarding the average length of a professional sports career and life expectancy may be a little off, but heading back to school to shore up your education and spending more time lounging around a collegiate campus with friends isn’t the worst thing that can happen to someone.
In his lone season at Texas, Thompson averaged 13.1 points and 7.8 rebounds. He predicts the NBA season will likely start in January.
“If basketball starts in January it’s really probably no training camp, or if there it, it will probably be a week,” Thompson said. “The ball drops and you’ve got to be ready to produce so that’s why I’m here being prepared for whenever basketball does start up.”