Four years and a few weeks ago, all Miami wanted was the return of Dwyane Wade. Heat mascot Burnie was placed atop the sign at AmericanAirlines Arena and refused to come down until Wade re-signed. The county commission voted to temporarily rename the county "Miami-Wade." Talk of LeBron James joining the team was fun, but no one gave it much serious thought. Then something weird began to happen. Odd rumors emerged that he might leave the Cleveland Cavaliers for Wade and the newly acquired Bosh, but those rumors seemed like a curiosity. And then it happened. He announced he'd be taking his talents to South Beach.
What followed was a wild four years of ups and downs. Miami got two championships and four thrilling rides to the NBA Finals. Heat fans were also put under a microscope like no fan base in history. And now that LeBron has returned to the Cavs, curious eyes will still be trained on Miamians to see how we react. Let's not give them fodder by pulling a Cleveland-level meltdown. Here's a quick guide for how to channel your feelings:
Don't burn LeBron's jersey: Unlike his time in Cleveland, LeBron gave us two championships and, in the process, brought this city together like few things can. Besides, those jerseys could be worth some money someday.
A Guide for Miami Fans Dealing With Life After LeBron
Remember the Heat is a solid organization: Pat Riley and Mickey Arison built a championship team around Dwyane Wade in 2006 before Cleveland could do it for LeBron. They then brought in LeBron and gave him his first two titles. Hell, they even made it to the conference finals once with Alonzo Mourning and Tim Hardaway before getting eliminated by Michael Jordan's Bulls. The quality front office, the beautiful city, and the fact that Florida has no state personal income tax will continue to make the Heat an attractive destination for top-level talent. It might not happen immediately this off-season, but trust that it will happen again.
Continue going to Heat games: We're actually not that worried about this one. Remember the 2007-08 season when Shaq was long gone, Wade was hobbled with injuries, and the team went on to compile a league-worst 15-67 record? Funny thing about that, the team still remained in the top ten in attendance, with a dip of less than 500-per-game attendance from the Heat's championship season two years earlier. Let's do that again.
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Be nice to Cleveland: An interesting part of Miami history is that many of our city's founders are from Cleveland. Julia Tuttle, Henry Flagler, and William and Mary Brickell all came here from Cleveland. Yes, Miami is in large part the city it is because Clevelanders got sick of living in Cleveland, and it was only fitting that LeBron James continue that great tradition.
Yes, we all know and are quick to point out that Miami is head and shoulders above Cleveland on so many fronts. Those poor people don't have much going on and haven't won a championship in anything since the '60s. The last time they seriously came close, the Florida Marlins, of all teams, snatched away a World Series from the Cleveland Indians in extra innings during Game 7 in 1997. Then the Heat got what could possibly be the best playing years of LeBron's life. In the grand scheme of things, it's practically karmic justice that LeBron returns to the Cavaliers.
Let's let them have something.