Recently, Miami sports teams have made some high-profile breaks from players and coaches who were once thought to be saviors. Gone but not forgotten, these castoffs have new chances to prove their ex-Miami teams wrong.
This past week on The Joe Rose Show, cohosts Zach Krantz and Sun-Sentinel sports writer Dave Hyde asked a simple question: Which player would it hurt the most to see stick it to the local teams? The duo threw a poll up on Twitter, and the results were clear: Seeing ex-Dolphins coach Adam Gase win would be the worst.
New Times felt obligated to take a deeper dive into this question. Here are the top five former Miami sports personalities who will give us heartburn by succeeding.
5. Adam Gase, New York Jets head coach. Level of anger: Your wife cheats on you with your best friend, marries him, and they win the lottery.
Let's get the worst one out of the way: If Adam Gase leads the New York Jets to anything close to a Super Bowl title, Dolphins fans will lose it. This might be the final straw for a tormented fan base. Watching Gase succeed in New York after being an epic disaster in Miami — both on and off the field — would inflict unimaginable mental pain on Fins fans that no amount of therapy could cure. It would be catastrophic.
Most everyone was happy when Gase got his walking papers after last season. But instant fear/confusion set in once it was clear when the rival New York Jets had hired him and then spent a gazillion dollars on high-profile players such as running back Le'Veon Bell. Now we wait.
Dolphins fans know Gase will probably bomb in New York. But if he doesn't — woof! Nobody needs to hear the swaggering, cocky Gase-bag.
4. Ryan Tannehill, Tennessee Titans back-up quarterback. Level of anger: Your best friend of 20 years stops talking to you right before he is drafted in the first round of the NFL Draft.
It would be hard to imagine the level of fire and fury that would enter Dolphins' fans souls if after 90 unremarkable starts in a Miami uniform, Ryan Tannehill somehow was part of a Super Bowl champion Tennessee Titans team. It's hard to imagine because that sort of fierce anger has never before been witnessed. There would be mass nervous breakdowns and group therapy sessions in the Bayfront Park.
Tannehill won't even open the season as the starter in Tennessee. But Marcus Mariota is no Cal Ripken Jr., so Tannehill will probably see the field in 2019. If he lights the NFL on fire and has the greatest season of his career, it would be one of the most frustrating things to happen to Dolphins fans — and the list of contenders in that category is as long as a CVS receipt.
3. Hassan Whiteside, Portland Trailblazers center. Level of anger: Your new co-worker, whom you hate, just got a promotion and is now your immediate supervisor.
Hassan Whiteside was avoiding literal war zones to get to the gym before the Miami Heat found him, molded him, babysat him, and rewarded with a max contract worth almost $100 million. It was a story like the 2009 movie The Blind Side. Oh, wait — the film ends with the football player wearing out his welcome with the nice family, and Sandra Bullock sends him off to be someone else's problem.
Whiteside plays for the Trailblazers now, and everyone is happy about it, including Whiteside himself; the Heat, which cleared space with the move to sign Jimmy Butler; and fans who grew tired of Whiteside's on-and-off personality in games and the locker room.
Maybe his world-famous pet fish aren't so happy about the move, but everyone else is.
If by some chance Whiteside blows up in Portland, records 20-20 games on the regular as he did in Miami every once in a while, and wins a title, that'll be rough for Miami fans. There might be pots and pans in the streets of the Magic City, but instead of clanking the cookware, fans would use it to beat one another.
2. Rodney McGruder, Los Angeles Clippers guard. Level of anger: You quit your dead-end job, and then the company gets sold to Apple.
Rodney McGruder was cut at the end of last season with, like, two games left. It was so dumb. Why would the Heat do that? Because of the damn salary cap. The team wanted to stay under the luxury tax. He was still good. It was just a money thing.
Booooo. That's crap. The NBA and their dumb rules.
We liked Rodney. He was a homegrown diamond-in-the-rough for the Heat, which brought him up from the D-League a few years ago. McGruder started some last season and had his moments.
Now he's in L.A., where it just so happens Kawhi Leonard and Paul George decided to go in free agency. They probably just wanted to team up with the gritty former Heat role player. If McGruder succeeds, shines, wins a title, and is an overall useful player whom the Heat could have used as the team jumps back into contention this year, it'll hurt like hell.
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1. Josh Richardson, Philadelphia 76ers guard. Level of anger: Scarlett — the high-school sweetheart you dumped — is Scarlett Johansson.
Everyone loves Josh Richardson. The Heat's former second-round pick greatly overachieved in comparison with what was expected from him in Miami. And he did so in the classiest, coolest, most fun-loving way imaginable. It was a joy to watch Richardson grow from an end-of-the-bench reserve to the main offensive option before Dwyane Wade returned to Miami.
All that being said, he's a 76er now thanks to the trade that brought Jimmy Butler to Miami. So even though it was technically Miami that sent him packing, it would be infuriating if he took the next step with Philadelphia and turned into an All-Star scoring machine.
It would hurt, but we like Josh, so it wouldn't hurt that much. If we're being honest, though, it would keep us up at night for a while.