Miami is, by and large, a football town. And the Miami
Dolphins are king. This is why the Marlins average only 19 people per game even
though they've won more championships than the Dolphins in the past 37 years
(note: they don't really average 19 people -- more like 12). This also
explains why people will pack themselves into the sizzling Nova bleachers and
allow the sun to sauté their flesh while they watch Dolphins players run around
in shorts and hit tackling dummies. But now the throne is being threatened by
not one king, but three. The Sun-Sentinel's Ethan Skolnick points out LeBron James's arrival could signal the end of the Dolphins' gargantuan monkey-fisted
grip on prominence as King Big Dicks around town.
His evidence: the Dolphins' full-page ad welcoming the Three Kings to Miami:
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It was a classy gesture. And yet, the full-page ad that appeared in local newspapers Sunday also spoke to the seismic shift we're about to witness in the South Florida sports market.
When the Dolphins traded for Brandon Marshall, they begrudgingly allowed him to have a news conference to announce it -- probably in the same room the chess club meets at the Nova southeastern campus, knowing this regime. When the Heat introduced their newest stars, they did it with a free party at their place and with keys to the city, big explosions, and a lot of muscle flexing. Also, Chris Bosh spoke Spanish!
Fins owner Stephen Ross has tried to glitz up the Dolphins. He's done this by selling pieces of his team to C-list celebrities, rolling out orange carpets, and letting the Dolphins fight song get mouth-raped by Auto-Tuned T-Pain. But all of Ross's efforts have been mocked or met with exasperation from fans. Probably because he's kind of a dork, but mostly because it's all very silly. Now here comes cool Pat Riley, with his slick hair and his championship rings and his Gordon Gecko bad-assed-ness, and all he does is snag the biggest free-agent catch of the century, and then shows everyone what he caught by throwing a huge shindig with dancing girls and free posters. No need to use Jimmy Buffett and Gloria Estefan to get the kids riled up about the team. Because the team itself is the attraction.
Of course, it'll always be tough to topple the Dolphins from their lofty heights here. Fans will tell you that. But the hold is no longer as firm as it used to be. Not since last week, anyway. Another 1-3 start for the Fins, a loss to the hated Jets and Jason Taylor in Miami, and the Heat and their Three Kings are suddenly looking a whole lot more appealing. The obvious solution for the Dolphins -- aside from giving the fans a little more access and throwing a party every now and then (or a barbecue; can we at least have a barbecue?) -- is to win. Winning cures all. That and landing LeBron friggin' James to play for your team. Word is he was a helluva receiver in high school.