Friday, July 8, 2011 at 10:53 a.m.
Happy first anniversary, LeBron James! It was exactly one year ago today when you
got down on one knee sat on one seriously uncomfortable-looking wooden chair and announced before God and the entire ESPN-watching world your intention to enter an unholy union with Miami and our professional basketball franchise. Well, actually we just think you had images of you, Dwyane Wade, and Pat Riley swimming in a pool of NBA championship rings in your head, and the actual city involved was just a bonus. But come on, LeBron, we've been together a year. It's time you got to know us better.
Sure, maybe this is just a marriage of convenience for you. A means to an end. That end being, how many exactly? Five, six, seven, eight championship rings? But what if that doesn't happen? What if you win -- gasp -- only half that amount? Don't you want to leave a bigger legacy in this city besides championships? All the great ones do. Just look at what guys like Dwyane Wade, Alonzo Mourning, and Dan Marino have done. And let's be honest: Your relationship with Miami is sort of unique. It was forged in hate. You dumped your ex on national television, and everyone hates you for it. Everyone but us. You can pretend otherwise, but we're pretty much the only reliable fans you have left. We just want to make sure you're into us as much as we're into you.
We're not so sure yet. First of all, there was the way you proposed. "I'm taking my talents to South Beach." Amid hysteria, all of us had to ask, "He does know the arena isn't actually in South Beach, right?" It was clunky. Like going to New York and saying you're taking your talents to Times Square, or heading to L.A. and declaring your talents would be brought to Beverly Hills.
It was like proposing to a woman and saying, "Will your fake breasts marry me?" Because that's what South Beach is: Miami's glorious fake rake. It was built up by man from tiny mounds of dirt into the unnatural but glorious rack of a town it is today. Sure, it's the first thing everyone notices about Miami, but there's more to us here. We have a heart and soul, you know.
Then there was the fact you seemed more concerned throughout the season with making amends with your former fans in Cleveland and Akron, while trying to salvage your national reputation. Tellingly, it was Dwyane Wade who thanked Miami Heat fans during that postdefeat news conference. You just sat there wallowing in your own broken ego. I mean, earlier in the season you took out an ad thanking the people of Akron
, but you had nothing to say to your new fans in Miami? Honestly? You're still number two in our hearts, and that will never change as long as Wade is the guy we believe actually gets this town and makes sure to give back.
We're not sure yet exactly how Miami you are. Have you listened to an entire DJ Khaled album? Have you put down your energy strips long enough to try some cafecito? If someone asked you how to get to Naranja, would you tell them: "Through the magic wardrobe"? Does "nann" mean anything to you? When someone tells you to meet them at Versailles, do you book two tickets to France? Do you still freak out when you see a rooster roaming the streets? There's a lot more to explore in Miami than the menu at Prime One Twelve, LeBron.
You're getting there, though. Slowly but surely. We see you beginning to do some local charity. You have a big ol' mansion here now, and it's not even in South Beach but Coconut Grove (by the way, have you tried the ceviche at Jaguar?). You're opening a store at Aventura Mall. It's a long bonding process, we guess, but you'll get there.
In the meantime, we really would like an anniversary gift: a meaningful thanks specifically to South Florida fans. We've had to hear shit spouted about our city, about how we didn't deserve this basketball team, about how we're a flashy town with little substance, ever since you set all of this off a year ago today. We cheered you on because of it, or perhaps in spite of it. You have a long way to go -- this city and you -- but, yeah, a heartfelt thank-you would be nice.
Oh, and please find a way to stop freezing up during the finals. Thanks.