Listen, America: We agree with you. Every single person who filed out of the AA Arena early last night and missed Ray Allen's Planet Earth-shattering three-pointer deserves all the shame heaped upon them. Each and every Heat "fan" who then tried to elbow their way back into the arena when they realized they'd made a terrible mistake should be forced to turn in all the LeBron gear they own, and may God have mercy on their souls.
But get this straight: Heat fans did not embarrass themselves last night. I was at the game, and it was a tiny minority who gave up. And what's more, many of the people who could afford tickets represent real Heat fans the same way that corporate fat cats in the luxury boxes at a Springsteen concert represent true Boss fanatics.
In other words: A slim percentage of the wealthiest, front-running-est slice of Heat nation gave up on the team and filed out early last night.
Again, by all means, shame them. Let them know that they have brought disgrace upon our city, our basketball franchise, and the entire Kingdom of James. Look at these terrible people filmed by Rembert Browne, a Grantland writer at the game:
And yes, even worse were those Heat traitors who then tried to barge back into the stadium after getting word they'd missed out on the greatest comeback in franchise history. These people, they are terrible:
But you know what I saw inside AA last night? I saw 99.9 percent of the crowd stick it out. I saw a grandma and her grandson in front of me shaking their heads at the departing idiots and then hugging like they'd won the lottery when Allen hit that shot. I saw an arena full of people who never gave up on the Heat, even after three quarters of LeBron missing layups, Chris Bosh shooting like he had waffles instead of hands, and Joey Crawford calling fouls that would make Tim Donaghy feel bad about himself.
And don't forget: These were the people lucky enough to nab tickets to Game 6, which were selling on Stubhub forbetween $500 for lower bowl seats to $20,000 for courtside spots. How many people hanging onto a pint glass at the Abbey filed out early? How many packed living rooms full of friends in Kendall or Hialeah switched off the game and gave up with 30 seconds left?
Even Browne, moments after posting that Vine of Heat turncoats, had this to say going into OT:
And then, when the final whistle blew, he posted this:
If you like this story, consider signing up for our email newsletters.
SHOW ME HOW
That's how I'll remember the game. A packed arena, delirious that, like the vast majority of Heat fans, they kept faith in LBJ and his cabinet, ready to do it all again this Thursday.