It's time to call it: Miami is a basketball town. No ifs, ands, or buts about it — it's clear the Miami Heat is the darling of the Dade County sports world. Sure, the Heat haven't thrown any parades lately, but the team has continued to make fans proud and hopeful. The Heat continues to entertain even when it's rebuilding.
The Dolphins, well, not so much. Seeing the two teams juxtaposed has only driven home the fact that Miami is and will continue to be a hard-core basketball town. Here's why:
5. The Miami Heat can call a press conference in September and own the headlines for a week. Last week, the Heat introduced its prized off-season free agent, Jimmy Butler. Technically, Butler signed in July, but he was busy vacationing and only this week got around to sitting down to discuss his move to the 305. It probably wasn't even going to happen, but Heat fans begged for Pat Riley and Butler to have a formal welcoming.
It went better than expected. Butler shined while gushing about the Heat and what it's about. Heat fans were all over social media puffing their chests, wishing the season could start already. All of this happened in September, a dead time in the NBA, the last month of the MLB regular season, and the first month of the NFL season.
The Heat can talk about itself in a room and get everyone sexually aroused. The Dolphins used to do that, but only the Heat can pull that off now.
4. Heat fans can always count on their team competing for a championship even when it makes no sense. The Dolphins are trying to lose every game this year, and rightfully so, but the fact they find themselves in a situation where purposely getting their asses kicked is the only way to fix themselves is just sad. You can always count on the Heat players to give it their all night in and night out even when it seems like losing makes more sense. They'll never tank. Well, again. Part of the reason they won't go that route now is they tried it once, and Michael Beasley was the result.
The Heat has been down, but its version of "down" is barely missing the playoffs and always having someone to look forward to watching grow on the roster. The Dolphins never give you the feeling that each and every week they'll make you proud. It's usually the opposite. This season it's just on purpose.
3. Every day a new happy Heat fan and a depressed Dolphins fan is born. Thirty-year-old Dolphins fans were about 10 years old when Dan Marino retired. They experienced — at most — four seasons of good Miami Dolphins football, and not even the best disappointing Marino years at that. Anyone under 30 has no idea what in hell a competent Dolphins franchise with actual annual expectations looks like. What every person old enough to drive a car does know, though, is the Heat is an NBA powerhouse.
Every day, new Heat fans are born into the cycle, and some toddlers' first memories include every adult badmouthing the Dolphins and cheering Heat press conferences. The longer this continues, the harder it will be to reverse. Sure, a Super Bowl title wins over just about everyone, but the deep love of a team sticks around and takes years to cultivate.
2. Even the older Dolphins fans can't help but cheat on their favorite team/sport. Everyone has a breaking point, and for many Dolphins fans who don't understand or want anything to do with the #TankForTua plan, this is theirs. Losing sucks, and losing for decades is maddening. The Heat for some time has given many Dolphins fans a break from the constant disappointment, and, eventually, allegiances begin to change.
There are a lot of Marlins fans who don't even watch baseball anymore because of what the franchise did to them over the years while at the same time winning titles. There are even more Dolphins fans who feel like they've been loyal enough. There comes a point, after decades, when an affair becomes a full-fledged relationship.
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1. In 2019, everything is about branding. In the end, it's just not as cool to be a Miami Dolphins fan as it is to be a Miami Heat fan. Knock it all you want, but a lot of athletes choose a school based on the uniform and shoe. Welcome to 2019.
Do the airport test: Which hat would you rather be seen wearing in the airport in Houston: Dolphins or Heat? In which team do you feel more pride? The answer for most would be the Heat. The Miami Heat is a brand with which you want to be associated. People wear Heat jerseys in music videos even if they're not fans. The Dolphins don't have the same level of clout, and they lose more of it as the franchise moves further away from what it was when 40-year-olds were infants.
For now, Miami is a basketball town. That can change, but it won't be anytime soon.